Effect of Progesterone on Calcium Signaling of Hippocampal Neurons




Hwang, Ji-Yeon


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Ji-yeon Hwang, Effects of Progesterone on Calcium Signaling of Hippocampal Neurons. Master of Science (Pharmacology and Neuroscience), May 2006, 74 pp., 18 Figures. Progesterone (P4) is one of the steroid hormones responsible for female sexual behavior. It has been recently show that P4 plays also multiple roles in the central nervous system (CNS) including neuroprotection. Calcium (Ca2+) is involved in numerous cellular processes in nerve cells such as neurotransmitter release and cell death. In the present studies, we present evidence that P4 increases the activity of IP3R-mediated Ca2+ release within nerve cells leading to cell survival and neuroprotection. The purpose of the present study is to identify the subcellular distribution of all IP3Rs and other signaling proteins including Akt and phosphor-Akt, in the primary hippocampal neuron and to test the hypothesis that P4 controls the gain of IP3R-mediated intracellular Ca2+ signaling in neurons. We observed that primary hippocampal neurons express predominantly IP3R type 1, 2, and 3. The cellular distribution of all IP3R isoforms as well as Akt and phospho-Akt was increased in primary hippocampal neurons by P4 treatment. In addition, phospho-Akt was translocated to nucleus in response to P4. P4-pretreated neurons showed potentiated IP3R-mediated intracellular Ca2+ responses. Acute application of P4 resulted in transient elevations of intracellular Ca2+ concentrations. Our results will contribute to establishing potential pharmacological approaches for the treatment of pathological conditions characterized by a dysregulation of cellular Ca2+ concentrations such as Alzheimer’s disease.