Differential anesthetic activity of ketamine and the GABAergic neurosteroid allopregnanolone in mice lacking progesterone receptor A and B subtypes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Progesterone affects the function of the brain by multiple mechanisms. The physiological effects of progesterone are mediated by the interaction of the hormone with progesterone receptors (PRs), which are widely expressed in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and limbic areas. The PR is composed of two protein isoforms, PR-A and PR-B, which are expressed from a single PR gene. In addition, progesterone influences neuronal activity through its conversion to allopregnanolone, a neurosteroid that acts as a positive allosteric modulator of GABA(A) receptors. However, the role of PRs in the sedative-hypnotic action of neurosteroids is unclear. In this study, PR knockout (PRKO) mice were used as model to study the sedative-anesthetic actions of the progesterone-derived neurosteroid allopregnanolone and the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine. Mice were confirmed to be PR deficient by genotyping and immunohistochemistry of PR expression in the brain. Anesthetic potency was evaluated by the loss of the righting reflex paradigm. Allopregnanolone-induced anesthetic activity was similar in PRKO mice and their wild-type littermates, suggesting that PRs are not involved in the anesthetic response to allopregnanolone. However, the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine has significantly reduced anesthetic potency in PRKO mice, suggesting a possible developmental plasticity of glutamate receptors. There was no marked gender-related difference to ketamine response in both genotypes. In conclusion, these results suggest that the neurosteroid allopregnanolone and ketamine produce differential anesthetic response in mice lacking PRs.

published proceedings

  • Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol

author list (cited authors)

  • Reddy, D. S., & Zeng, Y.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Reddy, DS||Zeng, Y-C

publication date

  • December 2007