Progress in progestin-based therapies for neurological disorders
Hormone therapy, primarily progesterone and progestins, for central nervous system (CNS) disorders represents an emerging field of regenerative medicine. Following a failed clinical trial of progesterone for traumatic brain injury treatment, attention has shifted to the progestin Nestorone for its ability to potently and selectively transactivate progesterone receptors at relatively low doses, resulting in robust neurogenetic, remyelinating, and anti-inflammatory effects. That CNS disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord injury (SCI), and stroke, develop via demyelinating, cell death, and/or inflammatory pathological pathways advances Nestorone as an auspicious candidate for these disorders. Here, we assess the scientific and clinical progress over decades of research into progesterone, progestins, and Nestorone as neuroprotective agents in MS, ALS, SCI, and stroke. We also offer recommendations for optimizing timing, dosage, and route of the drug regimen, and identifying candidate patient populations, in advancing Nestorone to the clinic.