Sleep endocrine effects of megestrol acetate in healthy men.

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Clinical Institute, Munich, Germany.
Synthetic and naturally occurring steroids exert a variety of neural effects that include modulation of nocturnal sleep. The present study focuses on the effect of progesterone receptor (PR) activation on the nocturnal sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) in male volunteers. As a PR ligand, the synthetic progesterone megestrol was used, which has the advantage over progesterone in that it is not metabolized into other steroid compounds which could cloud the progesterone-mediated effects through their own neuroactive properties. Nine healthy male volunteers were investigated in a prospective single-blind randomized study design. They received either placebo tablets or megestrol acetate dosages of 160, 320 or 480 mg at 14.00 h and 19.00 h. Blood samples were drawn half-hourly from 22.00 h until 07.00 h. After 320 mg megestrol, plasma adrenocorticotropin secretion was lower and growth hormone secretion was higher than after 160 mg and 480 mg megestrol or placebo. Similarly, the reduction in the relative amount of rapid eye movement sleep was most pronounced after 320 mg. Thus, progesterone receptor activation, as reflected by the sleep EEG and associated pituitary hormone secretion, follows a nonlinear U-shape dose dependency of a well-defined PR ligand, which may explain the unresolved inconsistencies of neuroendocrine progesterone effects to date. Moreover, employing a CV1 cell line, contransfected with a human glucocorticoid receptor expression vector and a reporter gene-based detection system for transcriptional activity, revealed that a PR agonist such as megestrol may also activate glucocorticoid receptors. This may account for some of the neuroendocrine effects of megestrol and other progestins.
Mesh Terms:
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Adult, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Electroencephalography, Endocrine Glands, Human Growth Hormone, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Male, Megestrol Acetate, Prospective Studies, Receptors, Steroid, Reference Values, Single-Blind Method, Sleep, Transcription, Genetic
J. Neuroendocrinol. Sep. 01, 1998; 10(9);719-27 [PUBMED:9744490]
175427
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