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Title: Prolactin and reproduction
Author: McNeilly, Alan Swain
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1983
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This thesis covers papers published over an 11 year period from 1971-1983. Research was undertaken to determine whether (i) prolactin was essential for normal ovarian and testicular function and (ii) high levels of prolactin that occurred as a clinical pathological state and physiologically in breast feeding and seasonal anoestrous were implicated in the associated suppression of reproductive function. To enable this research to proceed required reliable assay methods for prolactin and gonadotrophins in all species studied and investigations into the control of gonadotrophin secretion and ovarian function to provide the basic background in which to explore the role of prolactin. The radioimmunoassays I developed for prolactin and gonadotroph!"ns have been used in all investigations reported in this thesis and have been utilized world-wide In man it was thought that LHRH released both LH and FSH and it was used, subsequently, in the treatment of hypogonadal states. The essential role of LHRH in maintaining gonadotrophin secretion was shown by immunoneutralization studies in the ewe while studies on the gonadotrophs subunits showed the commons subunit to always be present in both pituitary and plasma while LHRH appeared to control subunit formation. The essential role of pulsatile LH secretion in controlling ovulation was also established and confirmed when ovulation was induced by pulsatile hormone administration in anovulatory women and sheep Both in vivo and in vitro studies indicated in women and other species that prolactin was essential, with LH and FSH, for normal ovarian function. Hyperprolactinaemia induced in the male rat suppressed gonadotrophin secretion by increasing hypothalamic sensitivity to the negative feedback effects of gonadal steroids. A similar increased sensitivity was shown in breast feeding women and led to a major study on the causes of lactational infertility in women This was the first large scale longitudinal study in breast feeding women and it established that suppression of ovulation post partum was dependent on both suckling frequency and duration. Resumption of ovulation only occurred when either or both suckling parameters were reduced. Parallel studies showed the importance of suckling patterns and the milk ejection reflex in establishing and maintaining lactation and emphasized the need for on-going support for breast feeding mothers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Sc.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available