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School of Medicine

Faculty and Staff

Lawrence Reagan, Ph.D.

Title: Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience
Vice Chair
Department: Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience
School of Medicine
Phone: 803-216-3515

Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuro
Basic Science Bldg 1, D-40


University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

The Rockefeller University


The hippocampus is an important integration center for learning and memory and is one of the major target areas for stress in the central nervous system. Exposure to stress may produce reversible synaptic changes, as well as irreversible neuronal damage, depending upon the duration of stress and the pre-existing physiological milieu. My laboratory is interested in determining the underlying structural, neurochemical and functional changes that are produced by stress in the hippocampus in order to achieve a greater understanding of how these alterations may contribute to the development of cognitive impairments in a variety of clinical situations, including recurrent depressive illness.  We are also examining the effects of metabolic stressors like diabetes and obesity on hippocampal neuroplasticity.  Our ongoing studies are examining the ability of pharmacological and lifestyle interventions to restore hippocampal neuroplasticity in experimental models of stress, diabetes and obesity. 

Recent Publications

  • Reznikov, L.R., Grillo, C.A., Piroli, G.G., Pasumarthi, R.K, Reagan, L.P. and Fadel, J.; Acute stress mediated increases in extracellular glutamate levels in the rat amygdala: differential effects of antidepressant treatment. Eur. J. Neurosci., 25, 3109-3114 (2007).
  • Grillo, C.A., Piroli, G.G., Junor, L., Wilson, S.P., Mott, D.D., Wilson, M.A. and Reagan, L.P. Obesity/hyperleptinemic phenotype impairs structural and functional plasticity in the rat hippocampus. Physiology and Behavior, 105, 138-144 (2011).
  • Grillo, C.A., Piroli, G.G., Kaigler, K.F., Wilson, S.P., Wilson, M.A. and Reagan, L.P. Downregulation of hypothalamic insulin receptor expression elicits depressive-like behaviors in rats. Behavioral Brain Research, 222, 230-235 (2011).
  • Reagan, L.P.: Diabetes as a chronic metabolic stressor: causes, consequences and clinical complications. Experimental Neurology, 233, 68-78 (2012).
  • Piroli, G.G., Reznikov, L.R., Hagar, J.M., Grillo, C.A., Fadel, J.R. and Reagan, L.P. Tianeptine modulates amygdalar glutamate neurochemistry and synaptic proteins in rats subjected to repeated stress.  Exp. Neurology, 241:184-193 (2013).
  • Grillo, C.A., Risher, M., Macht, V.A., Bumgardner, A.L., Hang, A., Gabriel, C., Mocaër, E., Piroli, G.G., Fadel, J.R. and Reagan, L.P.  Repeated restraint stress induced atrophy of glutamatergic pyramidal neurons and decreases in glutamatergic efflux in the rat amygdala are prevented by the antidepressant agomelatine.  Neuroscience, 284: 430-443 (2015).
  • Grillo, C.A., Piroli, G.G., Lawrence, R.C., Wrighten, S.A., Green, A.J., Wilson, S.P., Sakai, R.R., Kelly, S.J., Wilson, M.A., Mott, D.D. and Reagan, L.P.  Hippocampal insulin resistance impairs spatial learning and synaptic plasticity.  Diabetes, 64, 3927-3936 (2015).
  • Biessels, G.J. and Reagan, L.P.: Hippocampal insulin resistance and cognitive dysfunction.  Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16, 660-671 (2015).
  • Van Doorn, C., Macht, V.A., Grillo, C.A. and Reagan, L.P.: Leptin resistance and hippocampal behavioral deficits.  Physiology & Behavior, 176, 207-213 (2017)
  • Macht, V.A., Vazquez, M., Petyak, C.E., Grillo, C.A., Kaigler, K., McClellan, J.L., Cranford, T.L., Murphy, E.A., Nyland, J.F., Solomon, G., Gertler, A., Wilson, M.A. and Reagan, L.P.  Leptin resistance elicits depressive-like behaviors in rats.  Brain, Behav Immun. 60, 151-160 (2017).  


Course Director, Medical Pharmacology