Progesterone receptors: various forms and functions in reproductive tissues

Front Biosci. 2005 Sep 1:10:2118-30. doi: 10.2741/1685.


The unequivocal role of progesterone in a variety of events like ovulation, mammary gland development, establishment and maintenance of pregnancy etc are well established. Also the data are accumulating on its role in male reproductive events. In vertebrates and humans, the biological activity of progesterone is mediated by two progesterone receptor proteins PR-A and PR-B, that arise from the same gene and are the members of nuclear receptor superfamily of transcriptional factors. Several studies have demonstrated that the blockage of progesterone receptor using antiprogestins impairs folliculogenesis, ovulation, implantation and pregnancy. Progesterone receptor (PR), have also been detected in human spermatozoa. However, unlike the conventional PR, sperm PR was localized on the membrane and showed distinct characteristics in terms of its size. There are data to demonstrate the inhibition of progesterone driven functions such as hyperactive motility, acrosome reaction on neutralization of sperm membrane PR with specific antibodies against PR. Further significant decrease in the % of PR positive spermatozoa was observed in infertile cases as compared to the fertile men. This indicated that PR can serve as the marker to define the fertilizing potential of the spermatozoa. Recently we have also shown that the PR is expressed in human testis. This reinforced that this PR protein is an inherent testicular protein and not a secretion of accessory reproductive organs. This review compiles the major observations on the forms of the progesterone receptor in various reproductive tissues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Progesterone / physiology*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / classification
  • Receptors, Progesterone / physiology*
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Progesterone