Nonclassical progesterone signalling molecules in the nervous system

J Neuroendocrinol. 2013 Nov;25(11):991-1001. doi: 10.1111/jne.12060.


Progesterone (P4) regulates a wide range of cognitive, neuroendocrine, neuroimmune and neuroprotective functions. Therefore, it is not surprising that this ovarian hormone acts through multiple receptors. Ever since the 1980s, studies investigating the neural effects of P4 have focused mainly on genomic and nongenomic actions of the classical progestin receptor (PGR). More recently, two groups of nonclassical P4 signalling molecules have been identified: (i) the class II progestin and adipoQ receptor (PAQR) family, which includes PAQR 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, also called membrane progestin receptor α (mPRα; PAQR7), mPRβ (PAQR8), mPRγ (PAQR5), mPRδ (PAQR6) and mPRε (PAQR9), and (ii) the b5-like haeme/steroid-binding protein family, which includes progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (Pgrmc1), Pgrmc2, neudesin and neuferricin. In this review, we describe the structures, neuroanatomical localisation and signalling mechanisms of these molecules. We also discuss gonadotrophin-releasing hormone regulation as an example of a physiological function regulated by multiple progesterone receptors but through different mechanisms.

Keywords: 25DX; PAQR; PGR; PGRMC1; mPR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Progesterone / physiology*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Progesterone