Prolactin system in the hippocampus

Cell Tissue Res. 2019 Jan;375(1):193-199. doi: 10.1007/s00441-018-2858-2. Epub 2018 May 28.


Among the more than 300 biological actions described for prolactin, its role in the neurogenic capacity of the hippocampus, which increases synaptogenesis and neuronal plasticity, consolidates memory and acts as a neuronal protector against excitotoxicity-effects mediated through its receptors are more recently known. The detection of prolactin in the hippocampus and its receptors, specifically in the Ammon's horn and dentate gyrus, opened up a new field of study on the possible neuroprotective effect of hormones in a structure involved in learning and memory, as well as in emotional and behavioral processes. It is currently known, although controversial, that prolactin may be related to sex and age and that the hormone could be synthesized in the hippocampus itself. However, the regulatory mechanisms of changes in prolactin or in its hippocampal receptors still remain unknown. This review introduces the reader to general aspects concerning prolactin and its receptors and to what is currently known about the role prolactin plays in the brain and, in particular, in the hippocampus.

Keywords: Hippocampus; Learning and memory; Neuroprotection; Prolactin; Prolactin receptor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotection
  • Prolactin / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Prolactin / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptors, Prolactin
  • Prolactin