Greti Aguilera's Section on Endocrine Physiology focuses on the molecular mechanisms of the hypothalamic stress response. Research during the past year has yielded novel information on the transcriptional regulation of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and the physiological actions of vasopressin (VP) during chronic stress adaptation. Contrary to the conventional view, Aguilera found that phosphorylation of the transcription factor CREB is not sufficient for activation of CRH transcription. Concerning the effects of VP, new findings demonstrate novel roles for the prominent increases in vasopressinergic activity during chronic stress. In addition to minor effects modulating pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion, the Section found that vasopressin mediates mitogenic responses in the pituitary and anti-apoptotic actions in the brain.
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