Nestorone®: A progestin with a unique pharmacological profile
Kumar,Narender; Koide,Samuel S.; Tsong,Yun-yen; Sundaram,Kalyan
Steroids 65(10-11): 629-636
Publication date: 2000
Nestorone® (Nestorone 16-methylene-17a-acetoxy-19-norpregn-4-ene-3,20-dione), formerly referred to as ST 1435, is a potent progestin when given parenterally via sustained release formulations. The pharmacological profile of Nestorone was compared with that of levonorgestrel and 3-keto-desogestrel by steroid receptor binding studies and by in vivo bioassays in rats and rabbits. 3-Keto-desogestrel showed the highest binding affinity to progesterone receptors (PR) followed by Nestorone, levonorgestrel, and progesterone. The binding affinity of Nestorone to androgen receptors (AR) was 500- to 600-fold less than that of testosterone. However, both levonorgestrel and 3-keto-desogestrel showed significant binding (40 to 70% of testosterone) to AR. None of the progestins bound to estrogen receptors (ER). The progestational activity of Nestorone, levonorgestrel, and progesterone was compared using McPhail index in immature rabbits and pregnancy maintenance and ovulation inhibition tests in rats after subcutaneous (s.c.) administration. In all three tests, Nestorone was the most potent progestin. The progestational activity of Nestorone was also compared after oral and s.c. administration in rabbits. The potency of Nestorone was over 100-fold higher upon s.c. administration than via the oral route. The androgenic activity of progestins, based on the stimulation of ventral prostate (androgenic target) and levator ani (anabolic target) growth in castrated immature rats, showed good correlation with their binding affinity to AR. Nestorone showed no androgenic or anabolic activity. Nestorone did not bind to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), whereas both levonorgestrel and 3-keto-desogestrel showed significant binding to SHBG. The estrogenic/antiestrogenic activity of Nestorone was investigated in immature ovariectomized rats. In contrast to estradiol and levonorgestrel, Nestorone showed no uterotropic activity in ovariectomized rats. Despite significant binding to glucocorticoid receptors (GR), Nestorone showed no glucocorticoid activity in vivo. It is concluded that a strong progestational activity, combined with lack of androgenic, estrogenic, and glucocorticoid-like activities, confer special advantages to Nestorone for use in contraception and hormone replacement therapy.