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Open Access Research article

Serum prolactin concentrations as risk factor of metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes?

Lisa Balbach1, Henri Wallaschofski12, Henry Völzke23, Matthias Nauck12, Marcus Dörr24 and Robin Haring12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, University Medicine Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Straße, Greifswald, 17475, Germany

2 DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research), partner site Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany

3 Institute for Community Medicine, University Medicine Greifswald, Walther-Rathenau-Straße 48, Greifswald, 17475, Germany

4 Department of Cardiology, University Medicine Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Straße, Greifswald, 17475, Germany

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2013, 13:12  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-13-12

Published: 21 March 2013

Abstract

Background

To investigate potential associations of serum prolactin concentration (PRL) with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), previously observed in small and selected study samples, in a large population-based cohort.

Methods

Data from 3,993 individuals (2,027 women) aged 20-79 years from the population-based Study of Health of Pomerania (SHIP) were used to analyse cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of PRL with MetS and T2DM risk in age- and multivariable-adjusted Poisson regression models. PRL were log-transformed and modelled as continuous (per standard deviation (SD) increase) and categorical predictor (sex-specific quartiles) variable, separately for men and woman.

Results

Cross-sectional analyses showed an inverse association between low PRL concentrations and prevalent T2DM risk in men and women after multivariable-adjustment (men: Q1 vs. Q4: relative risk (RR), 1.55; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.13 – 2.14; women: Q1 vs. Q4: RR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.10 – 2.62). Likewise, higher PRL concentrations were associated with significantly lower T2DM risk (RR per SD increase in log-PRL: 0.83; 95% CI, 0.72 – 0.95 in men, and 0.84; 95% CI, 0.71 – 0.98 in women, respectively). An inverse association between PRL and MetS risk was not retained after multivariable adjustment. Longitudinal analyses yielded no association of PRL with incident MetS or T2DM.

Conclusion

The present study is the first large population-based study reporting a cross-sectional inverse association between PRL and prevalent T2DM in both genders. But the absent longitudinal associations do not support a causal role of PRL as a risk factor of incident MetS or T2DM.