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Hormone That Stimulates Milk Production May Also Prove Therapeutic In Liver Disease

October 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists in Mexico who wondered whether the hormone prolactin – critical for stimulation of postnatal milk production – could benefit the liver have found in an animal study that indeed it does. The liver has the body’s highest number of prolactin receptors, which signal liver cells to multiply and tell new blood vessels to grow. The study found that animals with extra prolactin had larger livers. They also regenerated their livers faster after partial removal, and were significantly more likely to survive liver surgery compared to animals that couldn’t process prolactin. The researchers said medications known to increase prolactin production after childbirth could provide “potential therapeutic options in liver diseases, liver injuries, or after liver surgery”.
B. Moreno-Carranza et al., "Prolactin promotes normal liver growth, survival, and regeneration in rodents: effects on hepatic IL-6, suppressor of cytokine signaling-3, and angiogenesis", American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, October 15, 2013, © American Journal of Physiology
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