Prediabetes, Diabetes Predicted By Serum Prolactin in Pregnancy

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Serum prolactin may predict the risk for postpartum prediabetes and diabetes.
Serum prolactin may predict the risk for postpartum prediabetes and diabetes.

(HealthDay News) — Serum prolactin in pregnancy predicts the risk for postpartum prediabetes/diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Ravi Retnakaran, MD, from Mount Sinai Hospital in Canada, and colleagues measured fasting serum prolactin, human placental lactogen (HPL), and 3-carboxy-4-methyl-5-propyl-2-furanpropanoic acid (CMPF) in 367 women in the late second/early third trimester. Participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at 3 months postpartum.

The researchers identified 301 women with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) in the postpartum OGTT and 66 with prediabetes or diabetes. Women with postpartum NGT had higher serum prolactin in pregnancy than those with postpartum prediabetes/diabetes; no differences were seen for HPL and CMPF between the groups. Antepartum prolactin was an independent determinant of postpartum, insulin secretion-sensitivity index-2 on multiple linear regression analyses. Independent prediction of a reduced risk of postpartum prediabetes/diabetes was possible with higher serum prolactin (odds ratio=0.5).

"Higher prolactin in pregnancy is an independent predictor of both better β-cell function and a lower likelihood of prediabetes/diabetes after complete adjustment for type 2 diabetes risk factors," the researchers wrote. "It thus emerges that serum prolactin in pregnancy is a previously unrecognized factor that can provide novel insight into postpartum diabetes risk in young women."

Retnakaran is part holder of a patent for CMPF as a biomarker for diabetes.


  1. Retnakaran R, Ye C, Kramer CK, et al. Maternal Serum Prolactin and Prediction of Postpartum β-Cell Function and Risk of Prediabetes/Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2016. doi:10.2337/dc16-0043.
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