Suppression of prolactin in pigs by Escherichia coli endotoxin

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Science  11 May 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4649, pp. 605-607
DOI: 10.1126/science.6369541


An endotoxin produced by Escherichia coli caused a decrease in prolactin concentrations in the plasma of sows when given at low dosages 2 days postpartum. Five to tenfold increases occurred in the plasma cortisol concentrations. Piglet growth, used as an indicator of milk secretion by the sows, was significantly depressed after the endotoxin administration. Some cases of lactation failure in the periparturient sow may thus be due to endotoxins suppressing prolactin concentrations. This appears to be the first report of a bacterial endotoxin having an effect on prolactin in any species.