Jesse D. Hunt

Date of Award






Degree Type




First Advisor

Kathleen Hughes

Second Advisor

Lauren King

Third Advisor

Cindy Ticknor


Neuroprotective agents, including specific hormones, may play a role in preventing cellular damage following an ischemic event or brain injury. Astrocytes are specialized glial cells within the central nervous system that play roles in synapse development, blood flow regulation, extracellular homeostasis, synapse function, energy and metabolism (Sofroniew and Vinters, 2009). Research using astrocytes in cell viability studies can be beneficial in deepening our understanding of specific neuroprotective effects of various steroid hormones including progesterone. Progesterone has been shown to have neuroprotective capabilities in the central nervous system (Scarpin et ah, 2009). Although progesterone shows great therapeutic potential, effects of the synthetic forms, progestins, including ethynodiol diacetate, are not as well known (Asi et al., 2016). The purpose of my study was to understand the effects of progestins on glial cell-derived culture viability and understand how progestins influence the viability of astrocytes under the treatment of epinephrine. My goal was to determine the degree to which in vitro-pretreatment of cultured glia with varying concentrations of ethynodiol diacetate affects cell viability and protects cells from the toxicity of epinephrine. Cells treated with epinephrine had significantly higher cell viability than untreated cells and treated cells were not significantly different from untreated controls (2-way ANOVA, F9.3o=4.478, P=0.043). There was no significant difference in cell viability between concentrations of ethynodiol diacetate (2-way ANOVA, F9,3o=0.0206, P=0.933). The results of this study suggest that under these treatment parameters, ethynodiol diacetate does not protect glial-derived cultures from oxidative stress. These results also show that short-term epinephrine treatment improves cell viability in the human glioma-derived cell line used in this study.

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