Prolactin and cortisol levels in seizure disorders

J Assoc Physicians India. 1994 Sep;42(9):709-12.


Levels of prolactin (PRL) and cortisol were estimated to find out the acute effects of generalised tonic clonic seizures (GTCS), partial seizures and pseudoseizures in 60, 18 and 9 patients respectively. Prolactin levels were estimated at 20, 60 and 120 minutes whereas, cortisol was estimated at 20, 60, and 120 minutes postictally. Cortisol and PRL estimation was also done in 10 healthy controls and 11 patients of epilepsy during interictal phase. Serum PRL levels were elevated (> 25 ng/ml) in 68.33% of GTCS and 11.11% of partial seizure cases. The peak levels were achieved in first 30 minutes after the seizures with a gradual return to base line during subsequent one hour. None of the patients with pseudoseizure showed any rise in serum PRL levels. The interictal PRL levels were normal in all the epileptics. Plasma cortisol levels were elevated during 60 to 120 minute postictal period in 45% of GTCS, 55.55% of partial seizures and 66.66% of pseudoseizure patients. Cortisol appears to be non-selectively triggered by all stressful events but postictal PRL estimation can help in differentiating pseudoseizures from GTCS. While an elevated PRL indicates the occurrence of grandmal seizure, a normal postictal PRL level does not always exclude epileptic seizure, specially a partial seizure.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Seizures / blood*


  • Prolactin
  • Hydrocortisone