Prolactin is an antagonist of TGF-beta activity and promotes proliferation of murine B cell hybridomas.

Research paper by S M SM Richards, R D RD Garman, L L Keyes, B B Kavanagh, J M JM McPherson

Indexed on: 19 Jun '98Published on: 19 Jun '98Published in: Cellular Immunology


Prolactin (PRL) is an immunomodulator that has been demonstrated to enhance immune responses both in vitro and in vivo. Prolactin enhances the proliferative response of lymphoid cells to both nonspecific mitogens and specific antigens and increases their production of IL-2 and interferon-gamma. Studies were performed to examine whether recombinant human prolactin (r-hPRL) also acts as a growth factor for B cell hybridomas. Prolactin was able to stimulate proliferation of murine B cell hybridomas in a dose-dependent manner and enhanced their proliferation in response to IL-4, IL-5, and IL-6. This increase in proliferation resulted in an overall increase in antibody production. Studies were also undertaken to examine the effect of PRL with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), an immunosuppressive cytokine. Hybridoma cell lines incubated with TGF-beta demonstrated a dose-dependent decrease in proliferation. Variability in the degree of inhibition was observed among the various hybridomas in their responsiveness to TGF-beta. The addition of r-hPRL to the cultures reversed the antiproliferative effects of TGF-beta. The mechanism by which PRL can overcome the anti-proliferative effect of TGF-beta is under investigation. These findings provide an additional rationale for using r-hPRL clinically in immunosuppressed patients in certain disease settings such as AIDS and cancer, where overexpression of TGF-beta has been implicated in disease development and progression.