, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 143–153

Progesterone reduces depression-like behavior in a murine model of Alzheimer’s Disease


    • Department of PsychologyThe University at Albany–SUNY
    • Department of Biological SciencesThe University at Albany–SUNY
    • Center for Neuroscience ResearchThe University at Albany–SUNY
    • Centre for Life Sciences ResearchThe University at Albany–SUNY
  • Alicia A. Walf
    • Department of PsychologyThe University at Albany–SUNY

DOI: 10.1007/s11357-009-9091-6

Cite this article as:
Frye, C.A. & Walf, A.A. AGE (2009) 31: 143. doi:10.1007/s11357-009-9091-6


Although anxiety and depression are not the core symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), there are changes observed in mood in those with AD, as well as in the aging population. Anxiety and depression may be influenced by progesterone P4 and/or its neuroactive metabolites, dihydroprogesterone (DHP) and 5α-pregnan-3α-ol-20-one (3α,5α-THP). To begin to investigate progestogens’ role in AD, a double transgenic mouse model of early-onset familial AD that co-overexpresses mutant forms of amyloid precursor protein (APPswe) and presenilin 1 Δ exon 9 mutation was utilized. As such, the effects of long-term (from 6 to 12 months of age) administration of P4 to ovariectomized (ovx) wildtype and APPswe+PSEN1Δe9 mice for changes in affective behavior was investigated. APPswe+PSEN1Δ9 mutant mice had increased anxiety-like (i.e., increased emergence latencies, decreased time spent on the open quadrants of the elevated zero maze) and increased depressive-like behavior (i.e., increased time spent immobile) than did wildtype mice. Compared to vehicle-administration, P4 administration (which produced physiological circulating P4, DHP, and 3α,5α-THP levels, particularly in the wildtype mice) decreased depressant-like behavior in the forced swim test. These effects occurred independent of changes in general motor behavior/coordination, pain threshold, and plasma corticosterone levels. Thus, the APPswe+PSEN1Δ9 mutation alters affective behavior, and P4 treatment reversed depressive-like behavior.



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© American Aging Association, Media, PA, USA 2009