The role of progesterone in memory: an overview of three decades

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Feb:49:193-204. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.11.015. Epub 2014 Nov 27.


Memory comprises acquisition, consolidation and retrieval of information. Many substances can influence these different phases. It is well demonstrated that sex hormones, mainly estrogen, impact cognitive function. More recently, progesterone has also been documented as playing an important role in cognition, since it influences brain regions involved in memory. Currently, many women are under hormone treatment, which contain progesterone to decrease the risk of development of endometrial cancer. This affords the opportunity to study the real effects of this hormonal replacement on cognition. There are many contradictory results regarding the role of progesterone in memory. Therefore, the aim of this review was to synthesize these studies using the new perspective of the influence of hormone replacement on cognition in women.

Keywords: Cognition; Memory; Progesterone; Sex hormones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Progesterone / adverse effects
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • Progestins / adverse effects
  • Progestins / pharmacology*


  • Progestins
  • Progesterone