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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2009, Article ID 687259, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/687259
Review Article

Prolactin and Male Fertility: The Long and Short Feedback Regulation

Department of Neuroendocrinology, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Jehangir Merwanji Street, Parel, Mumbai 400 012, India

Received 24 May 2008; Accepted 5 August 2008

Academic Editor: Mario Maggi

Copyright © 2009 M. K. Gill-Sharma. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the last 20 years, a pituitary-hypothalamus tissue culture system with intact neural and portal connections has been developed in our lab and used to understand the feedback mechanisms that regulate the secretions of adenohypophyseal hormones and fertility of male rats. In the last decade, several in vivo rat models have also been developed in our lab with a view to substantiate the in vitro findings, in order to delineate the role of pituitary hormones in the regulation of fertility of male rats. These studies have relied on both surgical and pharmacological interventions to modulate the secretions of gonadotropins and testosterone. The interrelationship between the circadian release of reproductive hormones has also been ascertained in normal men. Our studies suggest that testosterone regulates the secretion of prolactin through a long feedback mechanism, which appears to have been conserved from rats to humans. These studies have filled in a major lacuna pertaining to the role of prolactin in male reproductive physiology by demonstrating the interdependence between testosterone and prolactin. Systemic levels of prolactin play a deterministic role in the mechanism of chromatin condensation during spermiogenesis.