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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(10), 2224;

Stress and the HPA Axis: Balancing Homeostasis and Fertility

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, P.O. Box 208063, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 September 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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An organism’s reproductive fitness is sensitive to the environment, integrating cues of resource availability, ecological factors, and hazards within its habitat. Events that challenge the environment of an organism activate the central stress response system, which is primarily mediated by the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The regulatory functions of the HPA axis govern the cardiovascular and metabolic system, immune functions, behavior, and reproduction. Activation of the HPA axis by various stressors primarily inhibits reproductive function and is able to alter fetal development, imparting a biological record of stress experienced in utero. Clinical studies and experimental data indicate that stress signaling can mediate these effects through direct actions in the brain, gonads, and embryonic tissues. This review focuses on the mechanisms by which stress activation of the HPA axis impacts fertility and fetal development. View Full-Text
Keywords: stress; fertility; reproduction; hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; programming; glucocorticoids stress; fertility; reproduction; hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; programming; glucocorticoids

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Joseph, D.N.; Whirledge, S. Stress and the HPA Axis: Balancing Homeostasis and Fertility. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2224.

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