Russell Romeo headshot


On May 6, 2022, Russell Romeo, professor of psychology and neuroscience & behavior at Barnard, co-authored an article titled “Pubertal changes in the pituitary and adrenal glands of male and female rats: Relevance to stress reactivity.” The work, published by Neurobiology of Stress, examines the mechanisms that mediate age-related differences in hormonal stress responses.

Although the research shows similar circulating plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone levels, Professor Romeo and his co-authors found that prepubertal male and female rats have greater ACTH levels in the pituitary glands and greater corticosterone concentrations in the adrenal glands compared to adults. Additionally, the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) protein levels are significantly greater in the pituitary gland of prepubertal rats, confirming the researchers' hypothesis. Given the greater stress-induced hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) response in younger animals, the data suggests that greater hormonal concentrations in the pituitary and adrenal glands contribute to developmental changes in hormonal stress reactivity.