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June 1978

Hypoglycemia-Induced Prolactin Release

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Internal Medicine (Drs Burrow and Kayne) and Laboratory Medicine (Dr Donabedian), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn, and the Department of Internal Medicine, VA Hospital, East Orange, NJ (Dr May). Dr Donabedian is now with the University of Toronto School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(6):918-920. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630310018011

Recent advances in neurosurgical techniques have made it possible to remove pituitary adenomata with minimal morbidity and mortality. These developments have focused attention on early recognition of pituitary tumors, before the onset of visual disturbances or endocrine dysfunction. We have studied the prolactin response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia as an aid in the evaluation of patients with hypothalamic and pituitary disease.

Regular insulin 0.1 units/kg was administered intravenously to normal subjects, to patients with pituitary tumors, and to patients with idiopathic galactorrhea. While the normal subjects regularly showed a prolactin response to hypoglycemia, this was observed infrequently in the other groups. It is possible that prolactin nonresponsiveness to insulin hypoglycemia may reflect nonspecific pituitary damage or may represent an abnormality specific to patients with galactorrhea. Our data suggest that the prolactin response to insulin hypoglycemia is a sensitive index of hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction.

(Arch Intern Med 138:918-920, 1978)