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Background: Hyperprolactinemia is associated with obesity. Furthermore, in human adipose tissue cultured in vitro, prolactin (PRL) inhibited lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity via functional PRL receptors.

Objective: Tostudy PRL and insulin ultradian rhythm and subcutaneous adipose tissue LPL mRNA and protein expressions in severely obese women before and after malabsorptive bariatric surgery.

Methods and Procedures: Seven severely obese, fertile women were studied twice, once before and the second time 1 year after bilio-pancreatic diversion (BPD), when the weight was stable for at least 3 months. Metabolizable energy intake and 24-h energy expenditure (EE) were measured. Fourier and PULSEFIT analyses were applied to 24-h hormonal time-series to study daily fluctuations and hormonal clearance. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Quantitative-competitive reverse transcriptase-PCR and western blot analysis were used to measure LPL gene expression.

Results: Spontaneous 24-h PRL secretion was significantly reduced after BPD (mean-daily release, 128.4 ± 28.1 μg/l vs. 67.2 ± 9.2 μg/l distribution volume (Vd/l·24 h), P = 0.02); insulin secretion also was significantly reduced (499.9 ± 204.0 μg/Vd/l·24 h vs. 85.6 ± 21.0 μg/Vd/l·24 h, P = 0.0001). Metabolizable energy/kgFFM did not change significantly after BPD. Twenty-four-hour EE, but not 24-h EE/FFM, was significantly decreased after BPD (P < 0.05). Insulin sensitivity significantly (P < 0.0001) increased after BPD from 21.41 ± 1.92 to 68.62 ± 5.03 μmol/kgFFM/min. LPL mRNA concentration (from 42.63 ± 4.21% to 19.00 ± 2.74% of cyclophilin mRNA, P = 0.001) as well as LPL protein level (from 8.94 ± 2.73 to 3.16 ± 1.05 as ratios of protein of interest vs. housekeeping protein, P = 0.038) significantly decreased after BPD. The major determinant of PRL secretion was insulin secretion, whereas the best predictors of LPL expression were insulin and PRL secretion rates.

Discussion: The restriction of lipid metabolizable energy rather than weight loss seems to be responsible for both reduction in PRL circulating levels and normalization of its secretion rhythm after bariatric surgery. Furthermore, the reduced adipose tissue LPL expression, being significantly correlated with the decrease in insulin and PRL, suggests a role of hyperinsulinemia and hyperprolactinemia in inducing and sustaining obesity.