Animal models of anxiety and stress- induced behavior: Effects of neuroactive steroids

Deborah A. Finn, Robert H. Purdy, George F. Koob

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Behaviorally, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-agonist neuroactive steroids now are recognized to possess especially potent anesthetic, hypnotic, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant properties. It has been over 60 years since Hans Selye (1942)1 reported the sedative-anesthetic activity of the hormones progesterone and deoxycorticosterone, where of 75 steroids tested by i.p. administration in rodents, 5β-pregnanedione was the most active. This led to the introduction of hydroxydione sodium (21-hydroxy-5β-pregnane-3,20-dione sodium succinate) as the first steroidal anesthetic in 1955.2 However, it was Margarethe Holzbauer and her colleagues, from 1969 to 1985, who isolated and identified pregnenolone, progesterone, allopregnanolone (3α,5α-THP), epiallopregnanolone (3β,5α- THP), allopregnanedione (5α-DHP), 20α-dihydroprogesterone, and allopregnanediol (5α-pregnane-3α,20α-diol) from ovarian venous blood of the rat, and measured the ovarian content and secretion rates of these steroids during proestrus (reviewed in Holzbauer3). Their work was seminal, but often is forgotten. Holzbauer and colleagues4 further demonstrated the in vivo secretion of pregnenolone, progesterone, and 3α,5α-THP by the adrenal gland of the rat in quantities similar to those secreted by the ovary in estrus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurosteroid Effects in the Central Nervous System
Subtitle of host publicationThe Role of the GABA-A Receptor
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780203508169
ISBN (Print)0849323924, 9780849323928
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Neuroscience
  • General Medicine


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