Research InterestsLaboratory of Developmental and Perinatal Endocrinology
A multidisciplinary approach and the baboon as a nonhuman primate model are used in this research laboratory to study the regulation of placental and fetal growth and development. We have shown that estrogen has a central integrative role in regulating several processes critical to the maintenance of pregnancy and development of physiological systems important to placental and fetal development. For example, we have shown that estrogen regulates key aspects of functional differentiation of placental villous trophoblasts and the biosynthesis of progesterone. Estrogen also regulates placental extravillous trophoblast migration and remodeling of the uterine spiral arteries critical to promoting blood flow to and growth of the placenta and fetus. Moreover, estrogen regulates the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase genes which are responsible for the ontogenetic change in transplacental corticosteroid metabolism that results in activation of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis and consequently maturation of endocrine systems required for neonatal development. As part of the NIH U54 Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction Research, our laboratory is focusing on the role of estrogen in regulating endometrial angiogenesis and development of the fetal testis. Research in this laboratory builds upon our continuing studies to elucidate the actions of estrogen in pregnancy, uses a nonhuman primate model with important translational value to the human, and permits an integrated investigation of maternal, placental, and fetal development. Our studies make conceptual advances in knowledge of the regulation of fetal-placental development and will potentially lead to new approaches to address pregnancy maintenance and fetal-placental development disorders.
Albrecht, E.D., Bonagura, T.W., Burleigh, D.W., Enders, A.C.,
Albrecht, E.D., Aberdeen, G.W. and Pepe, G.J. (2005) Estrogen elicits cortical zone specific effects on development of the primate fetal adrenal gland. Endocrinology 146:1737-1744.
Albrecht, E.D., Robb, V.A. and Pepe, G.J. (2004) Regulation of placental vascular endothelial growth/permeability factor expression and angiogenesis by estrogen during early baboon pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 89:5803-5809.
Albrecht, E.D., Aberdeen, G.W., Niklaus, A.L., Babischkin, J.S., Suresch, D.L. and Pepe, G.J. (2003) Acute temporal regulation of vascular endothelial growth/permeability factor expression and endothelial morphology in the baboon endometrium by ovarian steroids. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 88:2844-2852.
Pepe, G.J. and Albrecht, E.D. (1995) Actions of placental and fetal adrenal steroid hormones in primate pregnancy. Endocrine Reviews 16:608-648.