Effects of neuroactive steroids on myelin of peripheral nervous system

R. C. Melcangi, M. Ballabio, I. Cavarretta, L. C. Gonzalez, E. Leonelli, S. Veiga, L. Martini, V. Magnaghi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peripheral nervous system (PNS) possess both classical (e.g. progesterone receptor, PR, androgen receptor, AR) and non-classical (e.g. GABAA receptor) steroid receptors and consequently may represent a target for the action of neuroactive steroids. Our data have indicated that neuroactive steroids, like for instance, progesterone, dihydroprogesterone, tetrahydroprogesterone, dihydrotestosterone and 3α-diol, stimulate both in vivo and in vitro (Schwann cell cultures), the expression of two important proteins of the myelin of peripheral nerves, the glycoprotein Po (Po) and the peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22). It is important to highlight that the mechanisms by which neuroactive steroids exert their effects on the expression of Po and PMP22 involve different kind of receptors depending on the steroid and on the myelin protein considered. In particular, at least in culture of Schwann cells, the expression of Po seems to be under the control of PR, while that of PMP22 needs the GABAA receptor. Because Po and PMP22 play an important physiological role for the maintenance of the multilamellar structure of the myelin of the PNS, the present observations might suggest the utilization of neuroactive steroids as new therapeutically approaches for the rebuilding of the peripheral myelin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-327
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number2-5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003


  • Myelin
  • Neuroactive steroids
  • Schwann cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology


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