Glial-neuronal interactions are crucial processes in neuromodulation and synaptic plasticity. The neuregulin 1 family of growth and differentiation factors have been implicated as bidirectional signaling molecules that are involved in mediating some of these interactions. We have shown previously that neuregulin 1 expression is regulated by the gonadal hormones progesterone and 17beta-estradiol in the CNS, which might represent a novel, indirect mechanism of the neuromodulatory actions of these gonadal hormones. In the present study, we sought to determine the effects of progesterone and 17beta-estradiol on neuregulin 1 expression in rat cortical astrocytes and neurons in vitro. We observed that progesterone increased the expression of neuregulin 1 mRNA and protein in a dose-dependent manner in cultured astrocytes, which was blocked by the progesterone receptor antagonist RU-486. In contrast, 17beta-estradiol did not increase either neuregulin 1 mRNA or protein in astrocytes. We observed no effect of either progesterone or 17beta-estradiol on neuregulin 1 mRNA and protein in rat cortical neurons in vitro. Finally, we observed that treatment of cortical neurons with recombinant NRG1-beta1 caused PSD-95 to localize in puncta similar to that observed following treatment with astrocyte-conditioned medium. These results demonstrate that progesterone regulates neuregulin 1 expression, principally in astrocytes. This might represent a novel mechanism of progesterone-mediated modulation of neurotransmission through the regulation of astrocyte-derived neuregulin 1.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1740925X07000385
View details for Web of Science ID 000248510100002
View details for PubMedID 18049715