Publications (2)6.47 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: Progesterone (PROG) provides neuroprotection to the injured central and peripheral nervous system. These effects may be due to regulation of myelin synthesis in glial cells and also to direct actions on neuronal function. Both types of cells express classical intracellular PROG receptors (PR), while neurons additionally express the PROG membrane-binding site called 25-Dx. In motoneurons from rats with spinal cord injury (SCI), PROG restores to normal the deficient levels of choline acetyl-transferase and of alpha3 subunit Na,K-ATPase mRNA, while levels of the growth associated protein GAP-43 mRNA are further stimulated. Recent studies suggest that neurotrophins are possible mediators of hormone action, and in agreement with this assumption, PROG treatment of rats with SCI increases the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) at both the mRNA and protein levels in ventral horn motoneurons. In situ hybridization (ISH) has shown that SCI reduces BDNF mRNA levels by 50% in spinal motoneurons, while PROG administration to injured rats (4mg/kg/day during 3 days, s.c.) elicits a three-fold increase in grain density. In addition to enhancement of mRNA levels, PROG increases BDNF immunoreactivity in perikaryon and cell processes of motoneurons of the lesioned spinal cord, and also prevents the lesion-induced chromatolytic degeneration of spinal cord motoneurons as determined by Nissl staining. Our findings strongly indicate that motoneurons of the spinal cord are targets of PROG, as confirmed by the expression of PR and the regulation of molecular parameters. PROG enhancement of endogenous neuronal BDNF could provide a trophic environment within the lesioned spinal cord and might be part of the PROG activated-pathways to provide neuroprotection. Thus, PROG treatment constitutes a new approach to sustain neuronal function after injury.
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ABSTRACT: Previous work demonstrated that progesterone (PROG) treatment attenuates morphological, molecular and functional abnormalities in the spinal cord of the Wobbler (Wr) mouse, a genetic model of motoneuron degeneration. Wr mice show a marked up-regulation of the nitric oxide synthesizing enzyme (NOS). Since nitric oxide is a highly reactive species, it may play a role in neuropathology of Wr mice. We now studied if PROG neuroprotection involved changes of NOS activity in motoneurons and astrocytes, determined by the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase (NADPHD) histochemical reaction. Two and four-month-old Wr mice at the progressive and stabilization stages of the disease, respectively, and their age-matched controls were left untreated or received a single 20-mg PROG pellet for 18 days. PROG reduced the high number of NADPHD-active motoneurons and white matter astrocytes in 2-month-old Wr mice but was unable to change the low number of NADPHD-active motoneurons in 4-month-old Wr mice or astrocytes in this age group. A large number of motoneurons in 2-month-old Wr mice showed a vacuolated phenotype, which was significantly reverted by PROG treatment. In summary, PROG treatment during the early symptomatic stage of the disease caused a significant reduction of NADPHD-active motoneurons and astrocytes and also reduced vacuolated degenerating cells, suggesting that blockade of NO synthesis and oxidative damage may contribute to steroid neuroprotection.
Instituto Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud Fundación H.A. BarcelóBuenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina