Progesterone Receptors

Many areas of the body are affected by progesterone.

Compiled by John R. Lee, MD

Hormones convey their message only where and when receptors for them are available.  The multiple roles of progesterone are illustrated by the range of progesterone receptors throughout the body. A listing of tissue sites for progesterone receptors follows.

For more information about progesterone by co-authors Dr. John Lee and Virginia Hopkins, visit the main progesterone page, with links to many articles.

Progesterone Receptor Sites

Receptor Sites

Symptoms/actions benefited by progesterone



Limbic brain

emotion/psychological symptoms, epilepsy


menstrual cycle, hot flashes, libido

Preoptic area

libido (sex drive)

Ventral tegmental area

libido (sex drive)




gonadotrophic hormones

Peripheral nerves (Schwann cells)

myelin repair

Respiratory System


Nasopharyngeal mucosa

rhinitis, sore throat, sinusitis, pharyngitis






dryness and thinning, various dermatoses, alopecia




breast lesions, cell maturation and replication rate

Fallopian tubes

congestion, dysfunction

Uterus (fundus)

endometrial diseases, myomata (fibroids)

Uterus (cervix)

cervical mucous changes


testosterone production

Adrenal glands

corticosteroid production

1.  Dalton, K (1984) Premenstrual Syndrome and Progesterone Therapy, 2nd Edition Wm Heinemann Medical Books, London, & Year Book Medical Publishers Inc., Chicago.
2.  O'Brien PMS, Selby C and Symonds EM.  (1980)  Progesterone, fluid and electrolytes in premenstural syndrome. Brit Med J. 1:1161-3.1.
3.  Dennerstein L, Spencer-Gardner C, Brown JB, Smith MA and Burrows GD.  (1984) Premenstrual tension – hormone profiles.  J Psychosomat Obstet Gynaec, 3:37-51.
4.  Rubinow DR, Hoban MC, Grover GN, Galloway DS, Roy-Byrne P, Andersen R and Merriam GR. (1988)  Changes in plasma hormones across the menstrual cycle in patients with menstrually related mood disorders and in control subjects.  Am J Obstet Gynec, 158; 1: 5-11. 
5.  Sampson GA (1979) Premenstrual syndrome: a double blind controlled trial of progesterone and placebo, Brit J Psychiat. 135:209.
6.  Greene R and Dalton K (1953) The Premenstrual Syndrome.  Brit Med J. 1:1007-11.
7.  Dalton K (1973)  Progesterone suppositories and pessaries in the treatment of menstrual migraine.  Headache 12; 4:151-9.
8.  Beynon HIC, Garbett ND and Barnes PJ  (1988)  Severe premenstrual exacerbations of asthma: effect of intramuscular progesterone.  Lancet. 370-1.
9.  Backstrom T  (1976)  Epileptic serizure in women related to plasma oestrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle.  Acta Neurol Scand. 54:321-47.
10.  Herzog AG  (1986)  Intermittent progesterone therapy and frequency of complex partial seizures in women with menstrual disorders.  Neurology. 36:1607-10. 
11.  Hanley SP  (1981) Asthma variations with mestruation.  Brit J Dis Chest, 75:306-08.
12.  Eliasson O and Scherzer HH.  (1984) Recurrent respiratory failure in premenstrual asthma.  Connecticut Med. 48, 12:777-8.
13.  Gibbs CJ, Coutts II, Lock R, Finnegan OS and White RJ.  (1984)  Premenstrual exacerbation of asthma.  Thorax 39:833-36.
14.  Dalton K.  (1985)  Erythema multiforme associated with menstruation. J Roy Soc Med. 78:787-8. 
15.  Wojnarowska F, Greaves MW, Peachey, Drury PI and Besser GM.  (1985)  Progesterone-induced erythema multiforme.  J Roy Soc Med, 78:407-81. 
16.  Dalton K.  (1967)  Influence of menstruation on glaucoma.  Brit J Ophthal, 51;10:692-5. 
(Sources above from  Dalton K. (1990)  The aetiology of premenstrual syndrome is with the progesterone receptors.  Medical Hypotheses 31:321-327)
 17.  Sar & Stumpf, 1974, Warembourg, 1992,  from Witt DM, Young J and Crews D. Progesterone and sexual behavior in males.  Psychoneuroendocrinology 1994; 19:553-562.
18.  DeBold JF and Frye CA. Progesterone and the nueral mechanisms of hamster sexual behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1994;19:563-579.


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