Gender influences outcome of brain injury: progesterone plays a protective role

Brain Res. 1993 Apr 2;607(1-2):333-6. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(93)91526-x.


The contributions of gender and gonadal hormones in the cascade of events following brain injury are largely unexplored. We measured cerebral edema following cerebral contusion in rats under three hormonal conditions to address this issue. Normally cycling females exhibited significantly less edema than males, and pseudopregnant females were virtually spared from post-injury edema. Subsequent studies of ovariectomized females, with or without hormone treatment, indicated that the reduction of cerebral edema was associated primarily with the presence of circulating progesterone. We conclude that progesterone has a protective effect on the brain following traumatic injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Brain Edema / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / injuries
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / injuries
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Male
  • Organ Size / physiology
  • Ovariectomy
  • Progesterone / therapeutic use*
  • Pseudopregnancy / physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Progesterone