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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neuroactive pregnanolone isomers during pregnancy.

The pregnanolone isomers (PI) allopregnanolone (3alpha-hydroxy-5alpha-pregnan-20-one), pregnanolone (3alpha-hydroxy-5beta-pregnan-20-one), isopregnanolone (3beta-hydroxy-5alpha-pregnan-20-one), epipregnanolone (3beta-hydroxy-5beta-pregnan-20-one), progesterone, and estradiol were measured in 138 pregnant women. The sampling was carried out from the first through the 10th month of pregnancy. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis and RIA were used for the measurement of steroid levels. The ratios of individual PI were similar to those found previously around parturition: about 25:10:7:1 for allopregnanolone, pregnanolone, isopregnanolone, and epipregnanolone, respectively. All the PI showed a significant increase during pregnancy, which was more pronounced in the 3alpha-steroids. The results indicated changing ratios between 3alpha- and 3beta-PI and between 5alpha- and 5beta-PI throughout pregnancy. The constant allopregnanolone/isopregnanolone ratio found through pregnancy weakened the hypothesis of the role of isopregnanolone in the onset of parturition. The ratio of estradiol (stimulating uterine activity) to 5alpha-PI and epipregnanolone exhibited significant changes during pregnancy in favor of estradiol up to the sixth or seventh month, in contrast to the constant estradiol/pregnanolone ratio. A pregnancy-stabilizing role of pregnanolone, counterbalancing the stimulating effect of estradiol on the onset of parturition, was suggested.[1]


  1. Neuroactive pregnanolone isomers during pregnancy. Parízek, A., Hill, M., Kancheva, R., Havlíková, H., Kancheva, L., Cindr, J., Pasková, A., Pouzar, V., Cerny, I., Drbohlav, P., Hájek, Z., Stárka, L. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (2005) [Pubmed]
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