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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011;13(3):352-9.

Is progesterone a worthy candidate as a novel therapy for traumatic brain injury?

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  • Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30822, USA. dstei04@emory.edu


Although progesterone is critical to a healthy pregnancy, it is now known to have other important functions as well. Recent research demonstrates that this hormone is also a potent neurosteroid that can protect damaged cells in the central and peripheral nervous systems and has rapid actions that go well beyond its effects on the classical intranuclear progesterone receptor. Based on years of preclinical research demonstrating its safety and effectiveness in animal models of central nervous system injury the hormone was recently tested in two Phase II clinical trials for traumatic brain injury (TBI). A US National Institutes of Health-sponsored, nationwide Phase III clinical trial is now evaluating progesterone for moderate-to-severe TBI in 1200 patients. An industry-sponsored Phase III international trial is also under way, and planning for a trial using progesterone to treat pediatric brain injury has begun. Preclinical data suggest that progesterone may also be effective in stroke and some neurodegenerative disorders.


neuroprotection; progesterone; traumatic brain injury

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