PR-independent neurosteroid regulation of 2-GABA-A receptors in the hippocampus subfields. Academic Article uri icon


  • Progesterone (P) binding to the intracellular progesterone receptors (PRs) plays a key role in epilepsy via modulation of GABA-A receptor plasticity in the brain. This is thought to occur via conversion of P to neurosteroids such as allopregnanolone, an allosteric modulator of GABA-A receptors. In the female brain, the composition of GABA-A receptors is not static and undergoes dynamic spatial changes in response to fluctuations in P and neurosteroid levels. Synaptic 2-containing GABA-A receptors contribute to phasic neuronal excitability and seizure susceptibility. However, the mechanisms underlying 2-subunit plasticity remain unclear. Here, we utilized the neurosteroid synthesis inhibitor finasteride and PR knockout mice to investigate the role of PRs in 2-subunit in the hippocampus. 2-Subunit expression was significantly upregulated during the high-P state of diestrous stage and with P treatment in wildtype and PR knockout mice. In contrast, there was no change in 2-subunit expression when metabolism of P into neurosteroids was blocked by finasteride in both genotypes. These findings suggest that ovarian cycle-related P and neurosteroids regulate 2-GABA-A receptor expression in the hippocampus via a non-PR pathway, which may be relevant to menstrual-cycle related brain conditions.

published proceedings

  • Brain Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Reddy, D. S., Gangisetty, O., & Wu, X.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Reddy, Doodipala Samba||Gangisetty, Omkaram||Wu, Xin

publication date

  • January 2017