Progesterone (P4) is a steroid hormone that plays multiple roles in the central nervous system (CNS) including promoting neuroprotection. However, the precise mechanisms involved in its neuroprotective effects are still unknown. Given that the regulation of the intracellular calcium (Ca2+) concentration is critical for cell survival, we determined if inositol 1, 4, 5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs) are relevant targets of P4. Using primary hippocampal neurons, we tested the hypothesis that P4 controls the gain of IP3R-mediated intracellular Ca2+ signaling in neurons and characterized the subcellular distribution and phosphorylation of potential signaling intermediates involved in P4s actions. Our results reveal that P4 treatment altered the intensity and distribution of IP3R immunoreactivity and induced the nuclear translocation of phosphorylated Akt. Further, P4 potentiated IP3R-mediated intracellular Ca2+ responses. These results suggest a potential involvement of P4 in particular and of steroid hormone signaling pathways in general in the control of intracellular Ca2+ signaling and its related functions.
- Central nervous system
- Gonadal steroid hormone
- Hippocampal neurons
- Inositol (1,4,5)-trisphosphate receptor
- Intracellular calcium signals