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Front Neuroendocrinol. 2010 Apr;31(2):157-71. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Activation of progestin receptors in female reproductive behavior: Interactions with neurotransmitters.

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Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030-3411, USA. <>


The steroid hormone, progesterone (P), modulates neuroendocrine functions in the central nervous system resulting in alterations in physiology and reproductive behavior in female mammals. A wide body of evidence indicates that these neural effects of P are predominantly mediated via their intracellular progestin receptors (PRs) functioning as "ligand-dependent" transcription factors in the steroid-sensitive neurons regulating genes and genomic networks. In addition to P, intracellular PRs can be activated by neurotransmitters, growth factors and cyclic nucleotides in a ligand-independent manner via crosstalk and convergence of pathways. Furthermore, recent studies indicate that rapid signaling events associated with membrane PRs and/or extra-nuclear, cytoplasmic PRs converge with classical PR activated pathways in neuroendocrine regulation of female reproductive behavior. The molecular mechanisms, by which multiple signaling pathways converge on PRs to modulate PR-dependent female reproductive behavior, are discussed in this review.

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