Allopregnanolone attenuates N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced excitotoxicity and apoptosis in the human NT2 cell line in culture.
Progesterone modulates gamma-aminobutyric acid and excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter systems and has neuroprotective properties in models of hypoxia-ischemia. This study examined the in vitro effects of allopregnanolone, the active progesterone metabolite, in models of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced necrosis and apoptosis. Cultured NT2 neurons were exposed to 1 mM NMDA. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release was measured 24 h later. NMDA at a concentration of 1 mM produced a 39 +/- 19% release of total LDH. Exposure to 10 microM allopregnanolone prior to NMDA exposure reduced LDH release by 51% (P = 0.0028). NMDA stimulated apoptotic cell changes defined by terminal dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) and 5,5', 6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1,3,3'-tetra ethlybenzimidazolycarbocyanide iodide staining were reduced to baseline values by both 10 microM allopregnanolone and 100 microM MK-801. Pretreatment with allopregnanolone (0-10 microM) reduced the percentage of TUNEL-positive cells in a dose-dependent manner (EC(50) = 2.7 +/- 0.1 nM). Physiologic concentrations of allopregnanolone provided protection against both necrotic and apoptotic injury induced by NMDA excitotoxicity.
Lockhart, EM; Warner, DS; Pearlstein, RD; Penning, DH; Mehrabani, S; Boustany, R-M
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