Marisa Graham and Jacqueline Pauk Prolactinoma Paper

Marisa Graham and Jacqueline Pauk
Dr. Robson
BIOL 351
13 March 2009
Some Men Lactate?
Men and women have the same genetics that code for the same proteins and hormones. Men and women secrete both sex hormones, but in different quantities and produce roughly the same amount of other hormones. So why is it that some parts of their bodies, like breasts, develop so differently? Men and women both have the same type of tissue and mammary glands, so why are woman able to lactate and most men not? It all comes down to the amount of certain hormones, primarily Prolactin, that are secreted.
Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the anterior part of the pituitary gland with circadian regularity. The hormone is secreted anywhere from four to fourteen times per day and tends to be secreted more often while sleeping. It is a monomer of 23 atomic mass units, 50 atomic mass units, or 150 atomic mass units. Prolactin is primarily responsible for the production of breast milk and lactation in breast-feeding women (Falorni). Normal levels of Prolactin vary from person to person and on the time of day and where in the circadian rhythm a person is. However there are levels that are abnormal for any person.
Levels of Prolactin vary day to day and with time of day. However, some levels are clearly abnormal. When abnormal amounts of Prolactin are present it is known as Hyperprolactinemia. This hormonal imbalance is characterized in woman by “oligomenorrhea, amenorrhea, galactorrhea or infertility” (Chik). In men the imbalance is marked by “men with hypogonadism, impotence or infertility” (Chik). The only true way to determine if an individual has Hyperprolactinemia is to test the levels of Prolactin circulating in the blood.
Although the test for Hyperprolactinemia is a simple blood test, the causes of the imbalance are not so simple. There are at least three known causes of chronic Hyperprolactinemia. It can be caused by Polycystic Ovarian syndrome, inflammation of the anterior portion of the pituitary gland and a number of pituitary tumors. All of the tumors of this portion of the pituitary gland are called Prolactinomas. Prolactinoma tumors are the most frequent pituitary tumor in adolescents; however, these tumors tend to be small in this age group (Patel). Prolactinoma tumors can be spontaneously occurring or be induced by “prolonged administration of estrogen” (Gottschall).

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