Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 813–821 | Cite as

Effects of progesterone on the neonatal brain following hypoxia-ischemia

  • Rafael Bandeira Fabres
  • Luciana Abreu da Rosa
  • Samir Khal de Souza
  • Ana Lucia Cecconello
  • Amanda Stapenhorst Azambuja
  • Eduardo Farias Sanches
  • Maria Flavia Marques Ribeiro
  • Luciano Stürmer de Fraga
Original Article


Progesterone displays a strong potential for the treatment of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy since it has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of the central nervous system injuries in adult animals. Here, we evaluated the effects of the administration of progesterone (10 mg/kg) in seven-days-old male Wistar rats submitted to neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI). Progesterone was administered immediately before ischemia and/or 6 and 24 h after the onset of hypoxia. The body weight of the animals, the volume of brain lesion and the expression of p-Akt and procaspase-3 in the hippocampus were evaluated. All animals submitted to HI showed a reduction in the body weight. However, this reduction was more remarkable in those animals which received progesterone before surgery. Administration of progesterone was unable to reduce the volume of brain damage caused by HI. Moreover, no significant differences were observed in the expression of p-Akt and procaspase-3 in animals submitted to HI and treated with either progesterone or vehicle. In summary, progesterone did not show a neuroprotective effect on the volume of brain lesion in neonatal rats submitted to hypoxia-ischemia. Furthermore, progesterone was unable to modulate p-Akt and procaspase-3 signaling pathways, which may explain the absence of neuroprotection. On the other hand, it seems that administration of progesterone before ischemia exerts some systemic effect, leading to a remarkable reduction in the body weight.


Neonatal hypoxia-ischemia Progesterone Brain injury Akt Caspase-3 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Bandeira Fabres
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Luciana Abreu da Rosa
    • 3
  • Samir Khal de Souza
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ana Lucia Cecconello
    • 1
    • 3
  • Amanda Stapenhorst Azambuja
    • 1
    • 3
  • Eduardo Farias Sanches
    • 5
  • Maria Flavia Marques Ribeiro
    • 1
    • 3
  • Luciano Stürmer de Fraga
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Neurohumoral Interaction, Department of PhysiologyUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory of Comparative Metabolism and Endocrinology, Department of PhysiologyUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas: FisiologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA)Porto AlegreBrazil
  5. 5.Laboratory of Cerebral Ischemia, Department of BiochemistryUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil

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