Autoimmune diseases can result from hormonal, immune and metabolic processes. This study was done to determine levels of prolactin (PRL), ferritin, vitamin D and tumor marker tissue polypeptide antigen (TPA) in autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis (SSC), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM), multiple sclerosis (MS), antiphospholipid syndrome and immune thyroid disease. Serum samples were tested from 1,029 patients.
High prolactin levels (hyperprolactinemia or hyperprolactinaemia) were seen in PM (24%), SLE (21%), MS (6.7%), RA (6%) and SSC (3%). Very high prolactin levels suggest a pituitary tumor called prolactinoma. Hyperprolactinemia is seen in autoimmune diseases which target specific organs, such as diabetes (type 1,) Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Addison’s disease, MS, uveitis, lymphocytic hypophysitis, celiac disease, and heart transplant rejection.
Ferritin is a protein which binds excess iron in cells. Elevated levels of ferritin (hyperferritinemia) are seen with inflammation, infection and cancers. High ferritin levels were seen in SLE (23%), DM (15%), MS (8%) and RA (4%). High ferritin levels are seen in the acute phase of SLE.
TPA is an immune marker which can indicate a malignant tendency. No autoimmune patient showed the levels of TPA seen in cancer patients. Autoimmune diseases may increase cancer risk.
Vitamin D regulates immune cells. Vitamin D levels were low in all autoimmune diseases, averaging 9.3-13.7 ng/ml. Levels below 20 ng/ml are considered deficient and are seen in inflammatory bowel disease, low vitamin D intake and with low sunshine exposure.
CONCLUSION: The above blood tests can be used as biomarkers of autoimmunity and may suggest therapeutic measures. Treatments for preventing autoimmune disease include vitamin D and reduction of prolactin with dopamine agonist therapy (such as bromocriptine and Vitex.) Dopamine agonists are suggested for RA.
NOTE: Dopamine agonists include phenylalanine, tyrosine, bromocryptine and Vitex. Low ferritin levels can result from low copper levels. Ask your doctor for any of the above tests. Boswellia serrata has 5-lipoxygenase activity which reduces prolactin levels. Read more about prolactin and autoimmune disease.
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