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Acta Trop. 2007 Aug;103(2):123-32. Epub 2007 Jun 2.

Modified progesterone receptor expression in the hypothalamus of cysticercotic male mice.

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Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, AP 70228, DF 04510, México.


Progesterone participates in numerous developmental and behavioral processes in the mammalian brain. The intracellular (is this really intracellular? nuclear membrane?) progesterone receptor is expressed as two isoforms: a full-length form (PR-B) and the N-terminally truncated one (PR-A). Experimental intraperitoneal infections with Taenia crassiceps in mice exhibit the tendency of the parasites to develop more rapidly in females. Male mice undergo a feminization process characterized by their oestrogenisation, deandrogenisation and loss of sexual and aggressive patterns of behavior. Hence, we suspected that changes in PR expression in the brain could be involved in the feminization of the infected male mice and in the loss of the sexual and aggressive behaviors. We have studied the expression of PR isoforms in the normal and infected male mouse brain. Transcripts of both receptor isoforms (PR-A and -B) were readily detectable in normal and infected mice, but differentially regulated during infection depending on the area of the brain studied. Although the precise role of progesterone in mediating the behavioral changes noted during infection is not fully understood, our data implicate a role for PR signaling in the feminization process. CNS activity is potentially involved in the network that regulates the oestrogenisation and deandrogenisation observed in chronically infected male mice, as well as in the behavioral peculiarities observed in this parasitic infection.

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