Progesterone as a neuroprotectant in stroke

Wong, Raymond (2013) Progesterone as a neuroprotectant in stroke. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Progesterone has been shown to be neuroprotective in a number of central nervous system injury models, including cerebral ischaemia. There is still a lack of understanding behind progesterone’s neuropotective properties, and the purpose of this project is to clarify some of these issues.

Osmotic mini-pump infusion was hypothesised to more effective in delivering progesterone to the target organ of the brain, when compared to a bolus intraperitoneal injection. Progesterone pharmacokinetic profiles were compared between different dosing regimes. Intraperitoneal progesterone injection had a short half-life in both plasma and brain, while osmotic mini-pumps delivered higher concentrations of progesterone in plasma and particularly in brain, over a longer period, which supports the hypothesis.

It was hypothesised that progesterone will reduce NO production and cell death in in vitro. Progesterone reduced nitric oxide production after challenging microglia with LPS, which supports our hypothesis and the nuclear progesterone receptor was found not to have a major role in nitric oxide attenuation. Neither of the microglial cell lines, BV-2 and HAPI cells produced elevations in NO formation in ischaemic conditions. The in vitro oxygen and glucose deprived model of ischaemia, reduced viability in both microglial and neuronal cells. Also, high pharmacological concentrations of progesterone exacerbated ischaemic injury, which does not support the hypothesis of progesterone in reducing cell death.

Progesterone administration, via osmotic mini-pump infusion, was hypothesised to have a better outcome compared to vehicle treatment. After the onset of experimental stroke, progesterone delivery via osmotic mini-pump with loading dose was found to be beneficial in terms of neurological deficit score in adult male mice, which supports the hypothesis. Also, we hypothesise that co-morbidity can affect the efficacy of progesterone treatment in outcomes. Aged animals have an increased sensitivity to experimentally induce stroke and did not display, in the outcomes measured, any benefit from progesterone treatment. NOD/ShiLtJ mice had severe symptoms, resulting in high mortality after surgery and are not recommended as a model of diabetes for experimental stroke. Hypertensive BPH/2 mice are a potential hypertensive model and had better functional outcomes after treatment with intraperitoneally administered progesterone, compared to non-treated hypertensive animals in our small preliminary study. This supports our hypothesis that co-morbidity can affect the efficacy of progesterone treatment in outcomes.

The gold-standard for assessing intervention effects across studies within and between subgroups is to use meta-analysis based on individual animal data. We hypothesise meta-analysis would reveal progesterone to reduce lesion volume, but also discover other effects in different subgroups of animals. Progesterone significantly reduced lesion volume, it also appeared to increase the incidence of death following experimental stroke. Furthermore, this negative effect appears to be particularly apparent in young ovariectomised female animals. These findings support the hypothesis that progesterone reduces lesion volume and progesterone having other effects in different subgroups.

This investigation has clarified some issues and expanded our understanding on the neuroprotective properties of progesterone. However, these findings indicate further investigation is still required before progesterone can be considered for use in clinical trials as a neuroprotectant in stroke.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bath, P.M.W.
Ray, D.
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WP Gynecology
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Clinical Sciences
Item ID: 13730
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 11:16
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 16:37

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