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Progesterone and Nerve Regeneration

Progesterone is classified as a “neurosteroid” because of its many critical functions in the nervous system. Among them, protecting the brain from injury and promoting repair of nerve cells (neurons) makes progesterone an important hormone in the maintenance of nerve health. In fact, numerous research studies attest to the neuroprotective effects of progesterone:
1. Progesterone improves the integrity and function of nerve tissues in the brain. [198]
2. Progesterone stimulates the growth of nerve cells, accelerates the maturation of the regenerating axon (long threadlike part of a nerve cell), and enhances the creation of protective outer covering of nerve fibers known as “myelin sheath”. [199-202]
3. In patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), progesterone enhances the repair of injured brain nerve cells by preventing inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, inhibiting programmed cell death (apoptosis), and preventing excessive stimulation of nerves. [203-231]
4. In animal models, progesterone promotes faster regeneration of injured nerve fibers. [232]
5. In aged rats, progesterone reduces myelin fiber abnormalities and myelin fiber loss in the sciatic nerve. [233]
6. In rats, progesterone increases the extent of myelin sheath formation in the injured nerves. [234-241]
7. Progesterone helps maintain nerve health by increasing the levels of nerve growth factor (NGF). [242]
8. In dogs, progesterone accelerates the regeneration of injured sciatic nerve. [243]
9. In rat models of sciatic nerve constriction, progesterone prevents allodynia (pain from stimuli which are not normally painful). [244]

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