Jeffrey D. Blaustein

Professor, Center for Neuroendocrine Studies, Neuroscience and Behavior Program; Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts

J. Blaustein Neuroendocrine Web Site

Ph.D.: University of Massachusetts
Postdoctoral Training: Rutgers University Institute of Animal Behavior
Honors: Senior Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health

Neuroendocrinology, Hormones and Behavior, Reproductive Endocrinology

We study the cellular processes by which steroid hormones act in the brain, particularly with respect to their involvement in reproductive behavior. In female rats, the response of neurons involved in reproductive behavior to the ovarian hormones is determined in part by the concentrations of intracellular receptors for each of these hormones. One of our main interests is in the cellular processes by which steroid hormone receptors, acting as transcription factors, influence neuronal function. In most of our studies, we use cellular techniques such as immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization histochemistry, and neuroanatomical tract tracing.

Our other main interest is in determining the cellular processes by which afferent inputs from the social environment influence hormone response in specific neurons. Many neurons that respond genomically to mating stimuli also contain ovarian steroid hormone receptors. This suggests that these neurons are capable of integrating tactile information received from the social environment with hormonal information. Furthermore, while it was originally thought that these steroid hormone receptors are activated only by steroid hormones, it is now known that they may undergo hormone-independent activation in response to afferent input received via neurotransmitter release. This activation in turn causes changes in behavior and physiology which resemble those induced by hormone-dependent activation. Studies are under way to elucidate the cellular mechanisms involved in hormone-independent activation of neuronal steroid hormone receptors.

Representative publications:

Olesen, K.M., Ismail, N., Merchasin, E., and Blaustein, J.D. Long-term alteration of anxiolytic effects of ovarian hormones in female mice by a pubertal immune stressor, Hormones and Behavior, 2011, 60: 318-326.

Ismail, N., Garas, P. and Blaustein, J.D. Long-term effects of pubertal stressors on female sexual receptivity and estrogen receptor-α expression in female CD-1 mice. Hormones and Behavior, 2011, 59: 565-571.

Blaustein, J.D. Hormones and Female sexual behavior, In: Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience, Volume 2, (G.F. Koob, M. Le Moal, R.F. Thompson, editors), 2010, Academic Press: Oxford, 49-56.

Blaustein, J.D. Feminine reproductive behavior and physiology in rodents: Integration of hormonal, behavioral and environmental influences. In: Hormones, Brain and Behavior (2nd edition), (D.W. Pfaff, A.P. Arnold, A.M. Etgen, S.E. Fahrbach, R.T. Rubin, Editors), 2009, Elsevier: San Diego, 67-107.

Laroche, J., Gasbarro, L., Herman, J.P., and Blaustein, J.D. Enduring influences of peripubertal/adolescent stressors on behavioral response to estradiol and progesterone in adult female mice. Endocrinology, 2009, 150: 3717-3725.

Laroche, J., Gasbarro, L., Herman, J.P., and Blaustein, J.D. Reduced behavioral response to gonadal hormones in mice shipped during the peripubertal/adolescent period. Endocrinology, 2009, 150: 2351-2358.

Blaustein, J.D., Farrell, S., Ghayami, G., Laroche, J. and Mohan, G. Non-intromissive mating stimuli are sufficient to enhance sexual behaviors in ovariectomized female rats. Hormones and Behavior, 2009, 55: 404-411.

Rood B.D., Murray, E.K., Laroche, J., Yang, M.D., Blaustein, J.D. and De Vries, G.J. Absence of progestin receptors alters distribution of vasopressin fibers but not sexual differentiation of vasopressin system in mice. Neuroscience, 2008, 154: 911-921.

Blaustein, J.D. Neuroendocrine regulation of feminine sexual behavior: Lessons from rodent models and thoughts about humans. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 2008, 59: 93-118.