There is a search for chemicals, oral or injectable, which will cross the blood-brain barrier to the brain to support brain repair. The authors have reported the benefits of prolactin (PRL) and luteinizing hormone on the development of new neurons (neurogenesis.) The present report is on the benefit of PRL in pregnancy on neurogenesis and on gliogenesis.
PRL is a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS.) MS is an inflammatory disease of the nervous system with the targets being myelin and oligodendrocytes. Remyelination, the normal repair of myelin, is impaired in people with MS. The mature oligodendrocytes should do the myelin repair, but, are unable. New oligodendrocytes must be generated from oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) in white matter. Remyelination is influenced by environment, social stimuli and gender. MS has an increased female incidence.
PRL is a hormone formed in the anterior pituitary. PRL has many functions, including maternal behavior. PRL is necessary for neurogenesis when stimulated by pregnancy. New glial cells are produced during the third trimester; MS often shows remission during the third trimester with fewer lesions in the white matter.
PRL promotes the production of new oligodendrocytes. During pregnancy, there is a gradual increase in production of myelin basic protein (MBP.) MBP is needed to produce myelin, the lipid layer on nerve cells. PRL treatments in animals have been interpreted to mimic the regenerative effect of pregnancy on white matter.
On the other hand, PRL is said to exacerbate autoimmune disease, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and MS. MS treatments with bromocriptine to reduce PRL are beneficial.
CONCLUSION: Pregnancy, with increased levels of prolactin (PRL,) appears to be of benefit to brain regeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS.) Patients with MS seem to have increased levels of PRL as a marker of the autoimmune process. Future treatment of MS must balance these seemingly opposing roles of PRL in MS.
NOTE: There are nutrient treatments to reduce PRL which are of benefit in MS. There are various modes, with dopamine agonists, such as Vitex, phenobarbital and tyrosine. Boswellin reduces PRL by another pathway. This has not been studied in pregnancy.
Neurogenesis is the process of making new neurons. Gliogenesis is the process of making new glial cells, multifunctional cells in the nervous system. Read about Bacopa, an herb that improves brain neuron function.
Oligodendrocytes are brain cells which form the lipid insulating layer, myelin, for neurons.