Progesterone administration fails to protect albino male rats against photostress-induced retinal degeneration

Ildikó Káldi, A. Berta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. Female patients show better recovery after brain injury and lower incidence of vascular diseases before menopause. The aim of this study was to test the protective effect of female sexual hormones against photostress-induced photoreceptor apoptosis. METHODS. Five week old male albino Sprague-Dawley rats were injected intraperitoneally with progesterone (60 mg/kg body weight) for 4 days. The control group was injected with the vehicle only (benzyl alcohol). Both groups were halved and one was stressed with light (2700 lux for 24 hours) and the other remained under the original dim cyclic light condition. For functional evaluation, baseline electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded 7 days before light stress, with follow-up ERGs 5 days after the cessation of light exposure. Animals were sacrificed and their eyes enucleated for histology. RESULTS. Light exposure caused pronounced decrease in the ERG a- and b-wave amplitudes compared to controls. However, in the light-stressed group, the difference in retinal function between progesterone-treated and nontreated animals was not statistically significant. The thickness of the outer nuclear layer and the length of rod outer and inner segments were significantly reduced in the light-stressed group, indicating loss of rod photoreceptor cells. Progesterone had no neuroprotective effect on rod cell structure. CONCLUSIONS. The administration of progesterone did not prove to be protective against excessive light-caused retinal degeneration on male albino rats. The role of other sexual steroids and their interaction need to be clarified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-314
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Electroretinogram
  • Light damage
  • Outer nuclear layer
  • Photoreceptor apoptosis
  • Progesterone
  • Rod inner and outer segment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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