Greti Aguilera, M.D.
Section on Endocrine Physiology
Building 10, Room 1-3330
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
The goal of the laboratory is to understand the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying the stress response, with emphasis on the regulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Not only during early development but also during adult life, the ability of the organism to adapt to acute and chronic stress situations is determined by genetic constitution and life experiences. The organism’s degree of adaptability may lead to long-term consequences for the responsiveness of the HPA axis, with altered expression of hypothalamic corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and circulating levels of glucocorticoids—hormones implicated in the pathogenesis of several psychiatric and metabolic disorders. Our laboratory studies the mechanisms of positive and negative regulation of expression of the hypothalamic hormones CRH and vasopressin (VP) and the proteins mediating adrenal steroidogenesis under various physiological situations as well as the impact of stress on HPA axis regulation. The influence of life experiences, especially during early development, on neuroendocrine regulation and the expression of genes involved in the stress response are important aspects of our research program. Elucidation of the mechanisms regulating the production of stress hormones and the effects of life experiences on the stress response is critical for understanding the mechanisms leading to HPA axis dysregulation and for developing diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic tools for stress-related disorders.
Liu Y, Knobloch HS, Grinevich V, Aguilera G. Stress induces parallel changes in corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) Transcription and nuclear translocation of transducer of regulated cAMP response element-binding activity 2 in hypothalamic CRH neurones. J Neuroendocrinol. 2011;23(3):216-23.
Spiga F, Waite EJ, Liu Y, Kershaw YM, Aguilera G, Lightman SL. ACTH-dependent ultradian rhythm of corticosterone secretion. Endocrinology. 2011;152(4):1448-57.
Watts AG, Sanchez-Watts G, Liu Y, Aguilera G. The distribution of messenger RNAs encoding the three isoforms of the transducer of regulated cAMP responsive element binding protein activity in the rat forebrain. J Neuroendocrinol. 2011;23(8):754-66.
Spiga F, Liu Y, Aguilera G, Lightman SL. Temporal effect of adrenocorticotrophic hormone on adrenal glucocorticoid steroidogenesis: involvement of the transducer of regulated cyclic AMP-response element-binding protein activity. J Neuroendocrinol. 2011;23(2):136-42.
Stroth N, Liu Y, Aguilera G, Eiden LE. Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide controls stimulus-transcription coupling in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to mediate sustained hormone secretion during stress. J Neuroendocrinol. 2011;23(10):944-55.