Skip to main content

12-08-2010 | Dermatology | Article

Serum prolactin levels correlate with psoriasis activity


Free abstract

MedWire News: Serum prolactin (PRL) levels may be a useful biological marker of psoriatic activity, say Spanish researchers.

They found that serum PRL levels were significantly elevated in patients with psoriasis, compared with individuals without the skin condition, and fell to normal levels following treatment.

PRL is a polypeptidic neuropeptide produced by lactotroph cells in the anterior pituitary, Elisabet Dilmé-Carreras and colleagues, from Hospital Del Mar in Barcelona, report in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology.

"In recent years it has become apparent that PRL may influence both humoral and cell-mediated immune reactions, and may play an important part in the expression of autoimmune disease," they note.

To investigate its potential role in psoriasis, the team measured serum PRL levels in 20 patients aged between 18 and 88 years with plaque-type psoriasis before and after 6 weeks of topical treatment with tacalcitol ointment. The results were compared with those for 20 healthy individuals without psoriasis.

Before treatment, the psoriasis patients had significantly higher PRL levels than participants without psoriasis, at an average of 21.4 ng/ml versus 8.4 ng/ml, respectively.

After treatment, during which the patients showed significant clinical improvement, serum PRL levels fell from 21.4 ng/ml to 3.6 ng/ml.

The researchers note that there was good correlation between PASI score, which fell from an average 10.7 before treatment to 3.8 after treatment, and PRL both before and after treatment.

They believe the findings "indicate that PRL may play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis."

Dilmé-Carreras and team suggest that "it could act directly, given its proliferative effect on human keratinocytes through specific PRL-binding sites." But they add that secondary hyperprolactinemia due to stress cannot be ruled out.

They call for further studies to confirm their results and "to clarify the pathogenic role of PRL in psoriasis."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lucy Piper