The major progestational steroid that is secreted primarily by the corpus luteum and the placenta. Progesterone acts on the uterus, the mammary glands, and the brain. It is required in embryo implantation, pregnancy maintenance, and the development of mammary tissue for milk production. Progesterone, converted from pregnenolone, also serves as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of gonadal steroid hormones and adrenal corticosteroids. [PubChem]
For progesterone supplementation or replacement as part of an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment for infertile women with progesterone deficiency and for the treatment of secondary amenorrhea. Also used for the reduction of the incidence of endometrial hyperplasia and the attendant risk of endometrial carcinoma in postmenopausal women receiving estrogen replacement therapy, as well as treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding due to hormonal imbalance in the absence of organic pathology such as fibroids or uterine cancer.
Progesterone is a naturally occuring progestin or a synthetic form of the naturally occurring female sex hormone, progesterone. In a woman's normal menstrual cycle, an egg matures and is released from the ovaries (ovulation). The ovary then produces progesterone, preventing the release of further eggs and priming the lining of the womb for a possible pregnancy. If pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels in the body remain high, maintaining the womb lining. If pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels in the body fall, resulting in a menstrual period. Progesterone tricks the body processes into thinking that ovulation has already occurred by maintaining high levels of the synthetic progesterone. This prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries.
Mechanism of action
Progesterone shares the pharmacological actions of the progestins. Progesterone binds to the progesterone and estrogen receptors. Target cells include the female reproductive tract, the mammary gland, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary. Once bound to the receptor, progestins like Progesterone will slow the frequency of release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus and blunt the pre-ovulatory LH (luteinizing hormone) surge. In women who have adequate endogenous estrogen, progesterone transforms a proliferative endometrium into a secretory one. Progesterone is essential for the development of decidual tissue and is necessary to increase endometrial receptivity for implantation of an embryo. Once an embryo has been implanted, progesterone acts to maintain the pregnancy. Progesterone also stimulates the growth of mammary alveolar tissue and relaxes uterine smooth muscle. It has little estrogenic and androgenic activity.