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Retinal degenerations cover a broad spectrum of diseases, retinitis pigmentosa being the most common inherited retinal degeneration. It remains an untreatable disorder, partly owing to its genetic complexity and variability. Gene therapies, stem cell transplantation and administration of slow release growth factors are some of the treatments currently under development for the treatment of this disease. More recently, steroid hormones, now known to have functions within the CNS aside from their traditional targets, have been suggested as potential therapeutic agents. Progestogenic hormones are thought to modulate pro-survival pathways in the retina and since these hormones are produced naturally in the body their value as potential therapeutic agents is clear. Current data detailing the pro-survival effects of progestogens in the brain and particularly in the eye will be discussed.


Francesca Doonan, Thomas G Cotter. Norgestrel may be a potential therapy for retinal degenerations. Expert opinion on investigational drugs. 2012 May;21(5):579-81

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PMID: 22375616

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