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Endocrine. 2014 Aug;46(3):561-7. doi: 10.1007/s12020-013-0126-5. Epub 2013 Dec 24.

Effect of low doses of progesterone in the expression of the GABA(A) receptor α4 subunit and procaspase-3 in the hypothalamus of female rats.

Author information

1
Laboratório de Interação Neuro-Humoral, Department of Physiology, ICBS-Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Rua Sarmento Leite, 500, Porto Alegre, RS, 90050-170, Brazil, brunoarbo@gmail.com.

Abstract

Progesterone is a steroid which regulates neural function, thereby modulating neurotransmission, cell survival, and behavior. Previous studies by our group have shown that chronic administration of low doses of progesterone in diestrus II female rats has an antidepressant-like effect in the forced swimming test (FST). Depression is associated with the several neurotransmitters systems, including GABA and serotonin, and with neurodegeneration and cell death in some brain circuits. The aim of this study was to verify the effect of progesterone on the protein expression of the GABA(A) receptor α4 subunit, serotonin transporter (SERT), Akt, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk), and caspase-3 in the hypothalamus of diestrus II female rats exposed to the FST. Female rats were treated with a daily injection of progesterone (0.4 mg/kg) or vehicle, during two complete oestrous cycles. On the day of the experiment, the animals were euthanized 30 min after the FST, the hypothalamus was dissected and protein expression of GABA(A) receptor α4 subunit, SERT, Akt, Erk, and caspase-3 was evaluated. Progesterone increased the expression of GABA(A) receptor α4 subunit but did not change the expression of SERT. Progesterone decreased the expression of procaspase-3 in the hypothalamus without changing the activation of Akt and Erk in this structure. In summary, our results suggest that progesterone acts to increase the expression of the GABA(A) receptor α4 subunit and decrease the expression of procaspase-3 in the hypothalamus of female rats. Such effects may be involved in the antidepressant-like effect of progesterone in female rats exposed to the FST.

PMID:
24366640
DOI:
10.1007/s12020-013-0126-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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