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Progestins and estrogens and Alzheimer's disease.

Author(s): Honjo H, Iwasa K, Kawata M, Fushiki S, Hosoda T, Tatsumi H, Oida N, Mihara M, Hirasugi Y, Yamamoto H, Kikuchi N, Kitawaki J

Affiliation(s): Department of Gynecology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kawaramachi, Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8566, Japan. honjo@koto.kpu-m.ac.jp

Publication date & source: 2005-02, J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol., 93(2-5):305-8. Epub 2005 Jan 24.

Sex-specific incidence rates for Alzheimer's disease (AD) are higher in women than men. Many fundamental researches and some clinical investigations have reported therapeutic and preventive effects of estrogens on AD. But WHIMS [S.A. Shumaker, C. Legault, S.R. Rapp, L. Thal, R.B. Wallace, J.K. Ockene, S.L. Hendrix, B.N. Jones IIIrd, A.R. Assaf, R.D. Jackson, J.M. Kotchen, S. Wabertheil-Smoller, J. Wactawsk-Wende, WHIMS investigators, Estrogen plus progestin and the incidence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment in postmenopausal women. The women's health initiative memory study: a randomized controlled trial, JAMA 289 (2003) 2651-2662], which used daily continuous hormone replacement therapy (HRT), reported that the hazard ratio of the HRT for probable dementia was 2.05. Effect of progestins, and continuous (not cyclically) HRT, even only with estrogen should be reconsidered. In our clinical study, conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) alone showed good changes of psychiatric tests for AD on the 3rd week, but addition of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) or norethindrone since 4th week suppressed these tests. Using human umbilical vein epithelial cell (HUVEC), levonorgestrel (LNG), norethindrone acetate (NETA), MPA increased intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and E-secretin but dienogest (DNG) showed no effect. In vitro flow system, estradiol (E2), suppressed adhesion of white cell, but LNG, NETA, MPA increased the adhesions. DNG showed less effect. Non-feminizing estrogen J 861, which has delta8,9 double bond and straight in its structure and has less effect on sexual organs. J 861 has shown ameliorative effects on central nervous system (CNS) (increasing of cholineacetyltransferase immunoreactive cells in substantia innominata (SI), etc.) like E2. More investigations about progestins and estrogens and AD should be done.

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