BMC neuroscience

Evaluating the translational potential of progesterone treatment following transient cerebral ischaemia in male mice.

PMID 25471043


Progesterone is neuroprotective in numerous preclinical CNS injury models including cerebral ischaemia. The aim of this study was two-fold; firstly, we aimed to determine whether progesterone delivery via osmotic mini-pump would confer neuroprotective effects and whether such neuroprotection could be produced in co-morbid animals. Animals underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. At the onset of reperfusion, mice were injected intraperitoneally with progesterone (8 mg/kg in dimethylsulfoxide). Adult and aged C57 Bl/6 mice were dosed additionally with subcutaneous infusion (1.0 μl/h of a 50 mg/ml progesterone solution) via implanted osmotic minipumps. Mice were allowed to survive for up to 7 days post-ischaemia and assessed for general well-being (mass loss and survival), neurological score, foot fault and t-maze performance. Progesterone reduced neurological deficit [F(1,2) = 5.38, P = 0.027] and number of contralateral foot-faults [F(1,2) = 7.36, P = 0.0108] in adult, but not aged animals, following ischaemia. In hypertensive animals, progesterone treatment lowered neurological deficit [F(1,6) = 18.31, P = 0.0001], reduced contralateral/ipsilateral alternation ratio % [F(1,2) = 17.05, P = 0.0006] and time taken to complete trials [F(1,2) = 15.92, P = 0.0009] for t-maze. Post-ischemic progesterone administration via mini-pump delivery is effective in conferring functional improvement in a transient MCAO model in adult mice. Preliminary data suggests such a treatment regimen was not effective in producing a protective effect in aged mice. However, in hypertensive mice, who received post-ischemic progesterone intraperitoneally at the onset of reperfusion had better functional outcomes than control hypertensive mice.