Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 523–537 | Cite as

Allopregnanolone and Progesterone in Experimental Neuropathic Pain: Former and New Insights with a Translational Perspective

  • Susana Laura GonzálezEmail author
  • Laurence Meyer
  • María Celeste Raggio
  • Omar Taleb
  • María Florencia Coronel
  • Christine Patte-Mensah
  • Ayikoe Guy Mensah-NyaganEmail author
Review Paper


In the last decades, an active and stimulating area of research has been devoted to explore the role of neuroactive steroids in pain modulation. Despite challenges, these studies have clearly contributed to unravel the multiple and complex actions and potential mechanisms underlying steroid effects in several experimental conditions that mimic human chronic pain states. Based on the available data, this review focuses mainly on progesterone and its reduced derivative allopregnanolone (also called 3α,5α-tetrahydroprogesterone) which have been shown to prevent or even reverse the complex maladaptive changes and pain behaviors that arise in the nervous system after injury or disease. Because the characterization of new related molecules with improved specificity and enhanced pharmacological profiles may represent a crucial step to develop more efficient steroid-based therapies, we have also discussed the potential of novel synthetic analogs of allopregnanolone as valuable molecules for the treatment of neuropathic pain.


Neurosteroids Neuroactive steroids Progesterone Allopregnanolone Neuropathic pain Spinal cord Dorsal root ganglia Mitochondria 



This work was supported by Grants from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (PIP 112 20150100266), Fundación René Barón and Fundación Williams, Université de Strasbourg, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, and Association Ti’toine de Normandie. These funding institutions/organizations had no role in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in writing the report, and in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Author Contributions

S.L.G and A.G.M-N conceived, designed, and wrote the manuscript. L.M., M.C.R., and C.P-M designed the figures. L.M., M.C.R., O.T., M.F.C., and C.P-M revised and critically contributed to the approved final version.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

None to declare.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Bioquímica Humana, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Nocicepción y Dolor Neuropático, Instituto de Biología y Medicina ExperimentalCONICETBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Biopathologie de la Myéline, Neuroprotection et Stratégies Thérapeutiques, INSERM U1119, Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg (FMTS)Université de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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