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Indomethacin Inhibits Lordosis Induced by Ring A-Reduced Progestins: Possible Role of 3α-Oxoreduction in Progestin-Facilitated Lordosis

Hormones and Behavior
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1006/hbeh.1998.1457


Abstract Progestins with a δ-4-3-keto configuration bind to the progestin receptor (PR) and facilitate estrous behavior in estrogen-primed rats. Some ring A-reduced progestins [5α-dihydroprogesterone (αDHP), allopregnanolone, and epipregnanolone] are more potent estrus-inducing agents than progesterone when iv injected despite their lower affinity for the PR. Yet the estrus-inducing action of such progestins is reduced by the antiprogestin RU486, suggesting that binding to the PR is required for this effect. Because allo- and epi-pregnanolone are oxidized to α- and βDHP, respectively, by 3α-hydroxysteroid oxo-reductase (3αHSOR), part of their estrus-inducing action may occur through the binding of such DHPs to the PR. Conversely, because 3αHSOR reduces α- and βDHP to allo- or epi-pregnanolone, both of which exert membrane effects, the estrus-inducing effect of DHPs may involve actions independent of the PR. To test these possibilities we assessed the effect of indomethacin, a blocker of 3αHSOR, on the estrus-inducing action of such progestins. Because indomethacin also inhibits cyclooxygenases, we selected a dose and treatment schedule that does not interfere with prostaglandin-mediated brain processes (e.g., LHRH release). Indomethacin did not significantly modify the effect of progesterone or megestrol acetate on lordosis. Yet, it significantly reduced the action of all ring A-reduced progestins. Results suggest that: (a) oxidation is essential for lordosis facilitation by 3α-pregnanolones and (b) reduction of 3-keto progestins generates 3α-hydroxy metabolites which synergize with processes triggered by occupation of the PR by 3-keto progestins. The possible participation in this response of other events influenced by indomethacin (e.g., prostaglandin or melatonin synthesis) is discussed.

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