For more than 20 years he didn’t find anything that helped, but in 1992 a student, Robin Roof, did experiments showing that progesterone injections reduced or prevented brain edema after a brain contusion. Pseudopregnancy, in which there is a high ratio of progesterone to estrogen, also prevented brain edema. An oxidative breakdown products of arachidonic acid, isoprostane, associated with dementia was reduce by 2/3 in the animals treated with progesterone (Roof, et al., 1997) -Ray Peat, PhD
Biol Reprod. 1993 Oct;49(4):647-52.
Pathologic effect of estradiol on the hypothalamus.
Brawer JR, Beaudet A, Desjardins GC, Schipper HM.
Estradiol provides physiological signals to the brain throughout life that are indispensable for the development and regulation of reproductive function. In addition to its multiple physiological actions, we have shown that estradiol is also selectively cytotoxic to beta-endorphin neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. The mechanism underlying this neurotoxic action appears to involve the conversion of estradiol to catechol estrogen and subsequent oxidation to o-semiquinone free radicals. The estradiol-induced loss of beta-endorphin neurons engenders a compensatory increment in mu opioid binding in the medial preoptic area rendering this region supersensitive to residual beta-endorphin or to other endogenous opioids. The consequent persistent opioid inhibition results in a cascade of neuroendocrine deficits that are ultimately expressed as a chronically attenuated plasma LH pattern to which the ovaries respond by becoming anovulatory and polycystic. This neurotoxic action of estradiol may contribute to a number of reproductive disorders in humans and in animals in which aberrant hypothalamic function is a major component.
Brain Res. 1994 Jul 25;652(1):161-3.
The 21-aminosteroid antioxidant, U74389F, prevents estradiol-induced depletion of hypothalamic beta-endorphin in adult female rats.
Schipper HM, Desjardins GC, Beaudet A, Brawer JR.
A single intramuscular injection of 2 mg estradiol valerate (EV) results in neuronal degeneration and beta-endorphin depletion in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of adult female rats. We have hypothesized that peroxidase-positive astrocytes in this brain region oxidize estrogens and catecholestrogens to semiquinone radicals which mediate oxidative neuronal injury. In the present study, dietary administration of the potent antioxidant 21-aminosteroid, U-74389F, completely blocked EV-induced beta-endorphin depletion in the hypothalami of adult female rats. Neither EV nor 21-aminosteroid treatment had any effect on hypothalamic concentrations of neuropeptide Y and Met-enkephalin, confirming that the estradiol lesion is fairly selective for the beta-endorphin cell population. The present findings support the hypothesis that the toxic effect of estradiol on hypothalamic beta-endorphin neurons is mediated by free radicals.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1999 Jan;68(1-2):65-75.
Purification and identification of an estrogen binding protein from rat brain: oligomycin sensitivity-conferring protein (OSCP), a subunit of mitochondrial F0F1-ATP synthase/ATPase.
Zheng J, Ramirez VD.
Early studies have suggested the presence in the central nervous system of possible estrogen binding sites/proteins other than classical nuclear estrogen receptors (nER). We report here the isolation and identification of a 23 kDa membrane protein from digitonin-solubilized rat brain mitochondrial fractions that binds 17beta-estradiol conjugated to bovine serum albumin at C-6 position (17beta-E-6-BSA), a ligand that also specifically binds nER. This protein was partially purified using affinity columns coupled with 17beta-E-6-BSA and was recognized by the iodinated 17beta-E-6-BSA (17beta-E-6-[125I]BSA) in a ligand blotting assay. The binding of 17beta-E-6-BSA to this protein was specific for the 17beta-estradiol portion of the conjugate, not BSA. Using N-terminal sequencing and immunoblotting, this 23 kDa protein was identified as the oligomycin-sensitivity conferring protein (OSCP). This protein is a subunit of the FOF1 (F-type) mitochondrial ATP synthase/ATPase required for the coupling of a proton gradient across the F0 sector of the enzyme in the mitochondrial membrane to ATP synthesis in the F1 sector of the enzyme. Studies using recombinant bovine OSCP (rbOSCP) in ligand blotting revealed that rbOSCP bound 17beta-E-6-[125I]BSA with the same specificity as the purified 23 kDa protein. Further, in a ligand binding assay, 17beta-E-6-[125I]BSA also bound rbOSCP and it was displaced by both 17beta-E-6-BSA and 17alpha-E-6-BSA as well as partially by 17beta-estradiol and diethylstilbestrol (DES), but not by BSA. This finding opens up the possibility that estradiol, and probably other compounds with similar structures, in addition to their classical genomic mechanism, may interact with ATP synthase/ATPase by binding to OSCP, and thereby modulating cellular energy metabolism. Current experiments are addressing such an issue.
Acta Neurol Scand. 1976 Oct;54(4):321-47.
Epileptic seizures in women related to plasma estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle.
Nine periods in seven women with partial epilepsy have been invetigated with respect to frequency of fits, and estrogen-progesterone levels in blood plasma. Six cycles with ovulation showed a positive correlation between the number of secondary generalized seizures and the mean estrogen/progesterone (E/P) ratios and a negative correlation to plasma progesterone levels. Three periods without ovulation showed an increase in the number of fits during days of high estrogen. The number of fits seemed not to be correlated to changes in body weight.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci(2011) 66A (12): 1343-1349.
Long-term Cognitive Impairment in Older Adult Twins Discordant for Gynecologic Cancer Treatment
Keiko Kurita1, Beth E. Meyerowitz, Per Hall, and Margaret Gatz
Background. Research has found that patients treated for cancer generally have an increased risk for cognitive problems. However, many studies have focused on cognitive performance of cancer patients under the age of 65 who received chemotherapy treatment. Less studied is the extent to which cancer diagnosis may be associated with cognitive impairment as a late effect for older adults.
Methods. In this retrospective, co-twin design study, twin pairs 65 years of age and older discordant for cancer were identified from the Swedish Twin Registry. A pair was included if both twins participated in cognitive screening, and the twin with the cancer history was screened at least 3 years after cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Results. Female, but not male, survivors of cancer were significantly (odds ratio = 2.42, 95% confidence interval = 1.23–4.74) more likely to exhibit cognitive impairment 3 or more years after cancer diagnosis and treatment as their co-twin without a history of cancer. In particular, risk was higher among survivors of gynecologic cancers (odds ratio = 10.00, 95% confidence interval = 1.28–78.11) and those who had treatments directly or potentially affecting ovarian functioning (odds ratio = 13.00, 95% confidence interval = 1.70–99.36) compared with their respective co-twins.
Conclusions. These findings suggest that localized treatments and other cancer-related factors should be explored as determinants that underlie the association between cancer diagnosis and long-term cognitive impairment.
Endocrinology August 1, 1992vol. 131 no. 2 662-668
Estradiol selectively regulates agonist binding sites on the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor complex in the CA1 region of the hippocampus.
N G Weiland
Estradiol alters cognitive function and lowers the threshold for seizures in women and laboratory animals. Both of these activities are modulated by the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate in the hippocampus. To assess the hypothesis that estradiol increases the sensitivity of the hippocampus to glutamate activation by increasing glutamate binding sites, the densities of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) agonist sites (determined by NMDA displaced glutamate), competitive antagonist sites (CGP 39653), noncompetitive antagonist sites (MK801) as well as the non-NMDA glutamate receptors for kainate and AMPA (using kainate and CNQX, respectively) were measured using autoradiographic procedures. Two days of estradiol treatment increased the density of NMDA agonist, but not of competitive nor noncompetitive NMDA antagonist binding sites exclusively in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. The density of noncompetitive NMDA antagonist sites, however, was decreased in the dentate gyrus by estradiol treatment. Ovarian steroids had no effect on the density of kainate or AMPA receptors in any region of the hippocampus examined. These data indicate that the agonist and antagonist binding sites on the NMDA receptor/ion channel complex are regulated independently by an as yet unidentified mechanism, and that this regulation exhibits regional specificity in the hippocampus. The increase in NMDA agonist sites with ovarian hormone treatment should result in an increase in the sensitivity of the hippocampus to glutamate activation which may mediate some of the effects of estradiol on learning and epileptic seizure activity.
Ann Neurol. 2006 Sep;60(3):346-55.
Endogenous sex hormones, cognitive decline, and future dementia in old men.
Geerlings MI, Strozyk D, Masaki K, Remaley AT, Petrovitch H, Ross GW, White LR, Launer LJ.
To estimate the association of endogenous levels of bioavailable testosterone and estradiol with risk for cognitive decline and dementia in old men.
Within the population-based, prospective Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, 2,974 men, aged 71 to 93 years, without dementia were reexamined 3 times over an average of 6 years for development of dementia and cognitive decline. Cognitive decline was measured with the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument. Incident dementia was diagnosed according to standard criteria. A total of 134 men experienced development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD; including 40 cases with contributing cerebrovascular disease) and 44 experienced development of vascular dementia.
Adjusting for age and other covariates, testosterone was not associated with risk for dementia (using Cox regression analyses) or cognitive decline (using random coefficient analyses). However, higher levels of estradiol were associated with risk for AD (hazard ratio per standard deviation increase, 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.47) and AD with cerebrovascular disease (hazard ratio, 1.19; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.38). Also, compared with the lowest tertile of estradiol, men in the middle and highest tertile of estradiol had 0.24 and 0.28 points lower Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument scores, respectively, for each year increase in age.
In old men, endogenous testosterone levels are not associated with risk for cognitive decline and AD, whereas higher estrogen levels increase risk for cognitive decline and AD.
Eur J Pharmacol 1999 Feb 26;368(1):95-102.
Rapid inhibition of rat brain mitochondrial proton F0F1-ATPase activity by estrogens: comparison with Na+, K+ -ATPase of porcine cortex.
Zheng J, Ramirez VD.
The data indicate that the ubiquitous mitochondrial F0F1-ATPase is a specific target site for estradiol and related estrogenic compounds; however, under this in vitro condition, the effect seems to require pharmacological concentrations.
Progesterone is the basic brain-protective antiestrogen. It works to protect the brain at many levels (preventing lipid peroxidation, exitotoxicity, nitric oxide damage, energy deficit, edema, etc.) and it promotes repair and recovery.
Progesterone in most cases has effects opposite to estrogen’s, improving mitochondrial energy production while preventing excessive excitation. Along with pregnenolone, progesterone is recognized as a neurosteroid with anti-excitotoxic actions, with the ability to promote repair and regeneration of the nervous system. (Roof, Stein, Faden; Schumacher, et al.; Baulieu.) -Ray Peat, PhD
Exp Neurol. 1994 Sep;129(1):64-9.
Progesterone facilitates cognitive recovery and reduces secondary neuronal loss caused by cortical contusion injury in male rats.
Roof RL, Duvdevani R, Braswell L, Stein DG.
The ability of progesterone to reduce the cerebral edema associated with traumatic brain damage first became apparent when we observed that males had significantly more edema than females after cortical contusion. In addition, edema was almost absent in pseudopregnant female rats, a condition in which progesterone levels are high relative to estrogen. Progesterone injections given after injury also reduced edema and were equally effective in both males and females. The present experiment was done to determine if the progesterone-induced reduction in edema could also prevent secondary neuronal degeneration and reduce the behavioral impairments that accompany contusion of the medial frontal cortex. Progesterone-treated rats were less impaired on a Morris water maze spatial navigation task than rats treated with the oil vehicle. Progesterone-treated rats also showed less neuronal degeneration 21 days after injury in the medial dorsal thalamic nucleus, a structure that has reciprocal connections with the contused area.
Volume 138, Issue 2, April 1996, Pages 246-251
Progesterone Rapidly Decreases Brain Edema: Treatment Delayed up to 24 Hours Is Still Effective
Robin L. Roof1, Revital Duvdevani, John W. Heyburn, Donald G. Stein
Cerebral edema is a serious side effect of traumatic brain injury. We have previously established that progesterone injections, initiated within 1 h after cortical contusion injury, reduced edema when assessed 3 days later. To determine how rapidly progesterone can reduce edema, male and female rats were given the hormone 1 h after damage to the medial frontal cortex, and edema levels were assessed between 2 h and 7 days postinjury. Progesterone decreased edema within 6 h of the injury and continued to be effective for the duration of treatment. In addition, we assessed whether progesterone injections are effective when delays are imposed between injury and initiation of treatment. Male and female rats received progesterone after postinjury delays of 6, 24, or 48 h. Progesterone was effective in reducing edema when treatment was delayed until 24 h after injury.
Mol Chem Neuropathol. 1997 May;31(1):1-11.
Progesterone protects against lipid peroxidation following traumatic brain injury in rats.
Roof RL, Hoffman SW, Stein DG.
The gonadal hormone, progesterone, has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in injured nervous system, including the severity of postinjury cerebral edema. Progesterone’s attenuation of edema is accompanied by a sparing of neurons from secondary neuronal death and with improvements in cognitive outcome. In addition, we recently reported that postinjury blood-brain barrier (BBB) leakage, as measured by albumin immunostaining, was significantly lower in progesterone treated than in nontreated rats, supporting a possible protective action of progesterone on the BBB. Because lipid membrane peroxidation is a major contributor to BBB breakdown, we hypothesized that progesterone limits this free radical-induced damage. An antioxidant action, neuroprotective in itself, would also account for progesterone’s effects on the BBB, edema, and cell survival after traumatic brain injury. To test progesterone’s possible antiperoxidation effect, we compared brain levels of 8-isoprostaglandin F2 alpha (8-isoPGF2 alpha), a marker of lipid peroxidation, 24, 48, and 72 h after cortical contusion in male rats treated with either progesterone or the oil vehicle. The brains of progesterone treated rats contained approximately one-third of the 8-isoPGF2 alpha found in oil-treated rats. These data suggest progesterone has antioxidant effects and support its potential as a treatment for brain injury.
Brain Res. 1996 Sep 30;735(1):101-7.
Progesterone is neuroprotective after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in male rats.
Jiang N, Chopp M, Stein D, Feit H.
Progesterone (PROG) is a neurosteroid, possessing a variety of functions in the central nervous system. Exogenous PROG has been shown to reduce secondary neuronal loss in conjunction with attenuated brain edema after cerebral contusion and to reduce brain edema after focal cerebral ischemia. In the present study, we assessed the neuroprotective potential of PROG in a model of focal cerebral ischemia in the rat. Forty-eight male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to 4 groups, i.e. pretreatment with water soluble PROG, or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) dissolved PROG, or DMSO as control or delayed treatment with DMSO dissolved PROG. Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) was induced by insertion of an intraluminal suture and reperfusion was performed by withdrawing the suture. Pretreatments were initiated 30 min before MCAO via intraperitoneal injection. Delayed treatment was initiated upon reperfusion following 2 h of MCAO. Infarct volume, body weight loss, and neurological deficit were measured 48 h after MCAO. Pre- and delayed treatment with DMSO dissolved PROG resulted in a 39% (P < 0.05) and 34% (P < 0.05) reduction in cerebral infarction, respectively, along with decreased body weight loss and improved neurological function as compared to control animals, whereas no statistically significant reduction in infarct volume by water soluble PROG was found. We demonstrated that administration of PROG to the male rat before or 2 hours after onset of MCAO reduces ischemic cell damage and improves physiological and neurological function 2 days after stroke. These results suggests potential therapeutic properties of PROG in the management of stroke.
Steroids. 2011 Aug;76(9):845-55. Epub 2011 Mar 1.
Progesterone inhibition of voltage-gated calcium channels is a potential neuroprotective mechanism against excitotoxicity.
Luoma JI, Kelley BG, Mermelstein PG.
The therapeutic use of progesterone following traumatic brain injury has recently entered phase III clinical trials as a means of neuroprotection. Although it has been hypothesized that progesterone protects against calcium overload following excitotoxic shock, the exact mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of progesterone have yet to be determined. We found that therapeutic concentrations of progesterone to be neuroprotective against depolarization-induced excitotoxicity in cultured striatal neurons. Through use of calcium imaging, electrophysiology and the measurement of changes in activity-dependent gene expression, progesterone was found to block calcium entry through voltage-gated calcium channels, leading to alterations in the signaling of the activity-dependent transcription factors NFAT and CREB. The effects of progesterone were highly specific to this steroid hormone, although they did not appear to be receptor mediated. In addition, progesterone did not inhibit AMPA or NMDA receptor signaling. This analysis regarding the effect of progesterone on calcium signaling provides both a putative mechanism by which progesterone acts as a neuroprotectant, as well as affords a greater appreciation for its potential far-reaching effects on cellular function.
Growth. 1979 Mar;43(1):58-61.
The effect of progesterone on brain and body growth of chick embryos.
Ahmad G, Zamenhof S.
It has been suggested that in the embryo hormonal steroids may act also as control factors for the growth of neural systems. In the present work progesterone was introduced onto the chorioallantoic membrane of the chick embryo on day 7 or days 7 and 10 of incubation. The embryo, dissected at day 10, showed significant increases in body weight and cerebral hemispheres weight. The response at day 13 was less pronounced; male embryos responded to progesterone more than the female embryos. Progesterone is a precursor to other corticosteroids, but corticosterone itself had a significant harmful effect on embryonal growth. Several possible explanations of these results have been offered. It appears that progesterone itself promotes the growth of the early embryo, but the effect depends on its age and sex.