Background: Progesterone (PRO) may confer a survival advantage in traumatic brain injury (TBI) by reducing cerebral edema. We hypothesized that PRO reduces edema by blocking polymorphonuclear (PMN) interactions with endothelium (EC) in the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
Methods: CD1 mice received repeated PRO (16 mg/kg intraperitoneally) or vehicle (cyclodextrin) for 36 hours after TBI. Sham animals underwent craniotomy without TBI. The modified Neurological Severity Score graded neurologic recovery. A second craniotomy allowed in vivo observation of pial EC/PMN interactions and vascular macromolecule leakage. Wet/dry ratios assessed cerebral edema.
Results: Compared with the vehicle, PRO reduced subjective cerebral swelling (2.9 ± .1 vs 1.2 ± .1, P < .001), PMN rolling (95 ± 1.8 vs 57 ± 2.0 cells/100 μm/min, P < .001), total EC/PMN adhesion (2.0 ± .4 vs .8 ± .1 PMN/100 μm, P < .01), and vascular permeability (51.8% ± 4.9% vs 27.1% ± 4.6%, P < .01). TBI groups had similar a Neurological Severity Score and cerebral wet/dry ratios (P > .05).
Conclusions: PRO reduces live pericontusional EC/PMN and BBB macromolecular leakage after TBI. Direct PRO effects on the microcirculation warrant further investigation.
Keywords: Blood-brain barrier; Endothelium; Intravital microscopy; Neutrophil; Progesterone; Traumatic brain injury.
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