Steroid hormones and their metabolites within the central nervous system are commonly defined as neuroactive steroids or neurosteroids. Although neuroactive steroids have been shown to improve learning and memory ability and protect against amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide-induced neurotoxicity, changes in their level during Alzheimer's disease and their role in Aβ-mediated cognitive impairment remain elusive given the limitation in sample sizes and analysis methods. To gain a better understanding on the role of neuroactive steroids in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease, Dr. Sha Liu and colleagues from Hebei Medical University, China investigated the effect of progesterone administration against Aβ25-35-induced impairment in vivo. In their study, intracerebral injection of aggregated Aβ25-35 into the bilateral hippocampal CA1 region impaired learning and memory abilities of rats, accompanied by reduced levels of progesterone. Treatment of these Alzheimer's disease rats with exogenous progesterone could reverse cognitive impairment. Therefore, this study, published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 30, 2013), provides a possible therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease via neuroactive steroids, particularly progesterone.
Article: " Metabolic alteration of neuroactive steroids and protective effect of progesterone in Alzheimer's disease-like rats," by Sha Liu1, Honghai Wu2, Gai Xue2, Xin Ma1, Jie Wu1, Yabin Qin1, Yanning Hou1, 2 (1 Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050017, Hebei Province, China; 2 Department of Pharmacy, Bethune International Peace Hospital of Chinese PLA, Shijiazhuang 050082, Hebei Province, China)
Liu S, Wu HH, Xue G, Ma X, Wu J, Qin YB, Hou YN. Metabolic alteration of neuroactive steroids and protective effect of progesterone in Alzheimer's disease-like rats. Neural Regen Res. 2013;8(30):2800-2810.