Demonstration of biological activity of prolactin molecular weight variants in human sera

Michael D. Whitaker, George G. Klee, Pai C. Kao, Raymond V. Randall, Don W. Heser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Three immunoreactive forms of PRL, separated by Sephadex G-100 column chromatography, were identified in serum samples from 10 normal subjects and 7 patients with PRL-secreting pituitary tumors. Fractions eluted from the column were assayed for bioactivity by using a sensitive bioassay with the Nb2 cell line. Three molecular weight variants of PRL were identified in normal subjects. In samples from 9 of the 10 normal subjects, 80.1 ± 3.6% (mean ± SEM) of the total bioactivity eluted in a peak corresponding to a PRL monomer (peak III) with a mol wt of approximately 24,000, 18.3 ± 3.7% eluted in a peak with a mol wt of approximately 56,000 (peak II), and 1.6 ± 1.1% of the biological activity was in the void volume (peak I). In the 10th normal sample, 65% of the total bioactivity was in the void volume (peak I), 31% was in peak III, and 4% was in peak II. Samples from the patients had 3.6 ± 0.7% of the total bioactivity in peak I, 9.3 ± 1.0% in peak II, and 87.0 ± 1.1% in peak III, percentages not significantly differentfrom normal. For comparison with bioassay, RIA measurement of PRL was performed on all fractions of six samples (three normal subjects and three tumor patients). Good correlation was found between RIA and bioassay measurements under each of the three peaks identified. We conclude that 1) insera from normal subjects, three molecular weight variants of PRL have biological activity; 2)in patients with PRL-secreting tumors, secretion of biologically active PRL molecular weight variants is not proportionately different from that in normal subjects; and 3) the results of the Nb2 PRL bioassay correlate well with PRL levels determined by RIA for each of three molecular weight variantidentified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-830
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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