Alternative Names
  • Prolactin

Test Code: 4005

CPT: 84146
Tests Included Prolactin
Use The primary physiological function of prolactin is to stimulate and maintain lactation in women. Abnormally high levels of prolactin are often associated with female infertility, impotence and infertility in men, primary hypothyroidism, and pituitary tumors. 2,5,8,9,10
Clinical Utility Prolactin levels are elevated post-partum and in newborns.1 Prolactin deficiencies in normal individuals are rare.5,8 Pathologic causes of hyper-prolactinemia include: prolactin secreting pituitary adenomas (prolactinomas), functional and organic diseases of the hypothalamus, hypothyroidism, renal failure, and ectopic tumors.2,5,8,9,10 Elevated levels of prolactin may be observed in cases of primary hypothyroidism due to an increased secretion of TRH (stimulates PRL release) accompanied by decreased serum T4 levels and increased serum thyroid stimulating hormone concentrations.4,6,11 Hyper-prolactinemia has also been associated with the inhibition of ovarian steroidgenesis, follicle maturation, and secretion of luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone.
Intended Patient Population 18+ and Older Adult Males & Females
Patient Preparation None Specified
Sample Serum, Plasma
Tube Red, Green, Tiger
Volume 4mL Whole Blood (1mL Serum/Plasma)
Min Sample Volume 0.5 mLs
Reference Ranges M & F ≥ 18 yrs old; 2.74-19.64 ng/mL
Analytical Measurement Range 0.25-200.00 ng/mL
Units ng/mL
Test Methodology Chemiluminescent Immunoassay
Test Turnaround Time 2 Days
Limitations Various drugs have been shown to either increase or decrease PRL levels. Administration of L-dopa suppresses PRL secretion.4,6,7,13 Bromocriptine inhibits PRL secretion and has been used in the treatment of amenorrhea and galactorrhea due to hyper-prolactinemia.2,5,7,9 Administration of psychotropic drugs (phenothiazines), anti-hypertensive drugs (reserpine), and TRH tend to increase PRL secretion.6,9 Estrogen therapy also tends to elevate serum prolactin levels.
Shipping Requirements Refrigerated
Specimen Stability 7 Days RF
Reject Criteria Gross Hemolysis, Gross Lipemia, Icterus
Laboratory Developed Test (LDT) Yes
CMS Guidance None
  1. Whitley, RJ. Endocrinology. In Tietz textbook of clinical chemistry, 1660-1694. Edited by Burtis, CA, Ashwood, ER. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, PA,1994.
  2. Ashby, CD. Prolactin. In Methods in clinical chemistry, 258-265. Edited by Pesce, AJ, Kaplan, LA. CV Mosby, St. Louis, MO, 1987.
  3. Jeffcoate, SL. Assays for prolactin: guidelines for the provision of a clinical biochemistry service. Ann Clin Biochem, 1986. 23:638-651.
  4. Franks, S. Prolactin. In Hormones in blood, 280-331. Edited by Gray, CH, James, VHT. Academic Press, London, UK, 1979.
  5. Frohman, LA. Diseases of the anterior pituitary. In Endocrinology and metabolism, 247-337. Edited by Felig, P. McGraw Hill, New York, NY, 1987.
  6. Reichlin, S. Neuroendocrinology. In Textbook of endocrinology, 589-645. Edited by Williams RH. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, 1981.
  7. Kohler, PO. Diseases of the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary. In Harrison's Principles of internal medicine, 587-604. Edited by Pertersdorf, RG. McGraw Hill, New York, NY, 1983.
  8. Howanitz, JH. Evaluation of endocrine function. In Clinical diagnosis and management by laboratory methods, 308-348. Edited by Henry, JB. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, 1991.
  9. Frantz, AG. The breasts. In Textbook of endocrinology, 400-411. Edited by Williams RH. WB Saunders,Philadelphia, PA, 1981.
  10. Bardin, CW. The testes. In Textbook of endocrinology, 293-354. Edited by Williams RH. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, 1981.
  11. Kubasik, NP. Prolactin: its functional effects and measurement. Laboratory management 1987, 25(8):49-51.
  12. Liwnicz BH. The hypothalamopituitary system. In Clinical chemistry theory, analysis, and correlation, 739-747. Edited by Kaplan, LA , Pesce, A J. CV Mosby, St. Louis, MO, 1984.
  13. Jacobs, LS. Prolactin. In Methods of hormone radioimmunoassay, 199-222. Edited by Jaffe, BM, Behrman HR :Academic Press, New York, NY, 1979.

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