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Neuroscience. 2008 Nov 11;157(1):196-203. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.09.003. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

Intranasal administration of progesterone increases dopaminergic activity in amygdala and neostriatum of male rats.

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Institute of Physiological Psychology and Center for Biological and Medical Research, University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


We evaluated the effects of intranasal administration of progesterone (PROG) on the activity of dopaminergic neurons in the brain of anesthetized rats by means of microdialysis. Male Wistar rats were implanted with guide cannulae in the basolateral amygdala and neostriatum. Three to 5 days later, they were anesthetized with urethane, and dialysis probes were inserted. After a stabilization period of 2 h, four 30-min samples were collected. Thereafter, the treatment (0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 mg/kg of PROG dissolved in a viscous castor oil mixture, or vehicle) was applied into the nose in a volume of 10 microl (5 microl in each nostril). In other animals, an s.c. injection of PROG (1.0, 2.0 or 4.0 mg/kg) or vehicle was given. Samples of both application ways were collected at 30-min interval for 4 h after the treatment and immediately analyzed with high performance liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection. Intranasal administration of 2 mg/kg of PROG led to an immediate (within 30 min after the treatment) significant increase in the basolateral amygdala dopamine levels. In the neostriatum, the 2 mg/kg dose led to a delayed significant increase in dopamine. S.c. administration of 4 mg/kg of PROG was followed by a delayed significant increase in dopamine, both, in the basolateral amygdala and neostriatum, but smaller in magnitude in comparison to the intranasal treatment. This is the first study to demonstrate dopamine-enhancing effects of PROG, not only in the neostriatum, but also in the basolateral amygdala. Our results indicate that the intranasal route of administration of PROG is a more efficacious way for targeting the brain than the s.c. route.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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