Progesterone's role in neuroprotection, a review of the evidence

Brain Res. 2013 Sep 12;1530:82-105. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2013.07.014. Epub 2013 Jul 18.


The sex hormone progesterone has been shown to improve outcomes in animal models of a number of neurologic diseases, including traumatic brain injury, ischemia, spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, demyelinating disease, neuromuscular disorders, and seizures. Evidence suggests it exerts its neuroprotective effects through several pathways, including reducing edema, improving neuronal survival, and modulating inflammation and apoptosis. In this review, we summarize the functional outcomes and pathophysiologic mechanisms attributed to progesterone treatment in neurologic disease. We then comment on the breadth of evidence for the use of progesterone in each neurologic disease family. Finally, we provide support for further human studies using progesterone to treat several neurologic diseases.

Keywords: Neuroprotection; Progesterone; Traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism*
  • Brain Injuries / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Diseases / prevention & control
  • Neuroprotective Agents / metabolism*
  • Progesterone / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / prevention & control


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Progesterone