Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hyperprolactinemia are the most frequent endocrine disorders in women which share several common features. There are inconsistent results regarding the existence of a possible pathophysiological interplay between these endocrinopathies and the elevation of prolactin (PRL) in PCOS. The purpose of this study was to explore the upper reference limit of PRL in PCOS women.
This study is a cross-sectional analysis using data collected from two population-based PCOS prevalence studies. After considering the exclusion criteria, 216 women with PCOS diagnosed based on the Rotterdam criteria and 702 eumenorrheic non-hirsute controls, were enrolled. The age distribution of PRL and the effect of PCOS on the percentiles of serum PRL were compared between the PCOS group and controls. The possible contributing factors for the elevation of PRL were evaluated.
In the subgroup of women with PCOS, aged ≤35 years, the age-adjusted model of quantile regression revealed a significant elevation of PRL from the 60th percentile onwards, leading to an increase of nearly 10 ​ng/ml (p ​= ​0.023, 95% CI 1.3-17.62) of the 95th percentile of PRL. Hyperprolactinemic PCOS women had higher levels of luteinizing hormone (LH).
In PCOS women, aged ≤35 years, the upper reference limit of serum PRL was approximately 1.5-fold higher than in controls. The pathway underlying PRL elevation in PCOS might be attributed to a decline in central dopaminergic tone associated with PCOS which leads to an increase in levels of both – PRL and LH.

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