R. Thomas Zoeller

Professor and Chair of Biology, University of Massachusetts

Email: tzoeller@bio.umass.edu
T. Zoeller Biology Dept Website
T. Zoeller Lab Website

Ph.D.: Oregon State University
Postdoctoral Training: National Institute of Mental Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Neuroendocrine Regulation of Thyroid; Mechanisms of Thyroid Hormone Action on Brain Development

There are two major research programs active in the laboratory, both related to thyroid hormones. First, we are interested in understanding the functional organization of neurons in the brain that control pituitary-thyroid activity. These neurons synthesize Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone (TRH). Second, we are interested in the role of thyroid hormone in guiding brain development. To address this, we are cloning novel thyroid hormone-regulated genes in the fetal brain. In addition, there are a number of clinically relevant factors that may interfere with thyroid hormone action during development, including environmental contaminants (e.g., PCBs), and ethanol. We are using the genes we have found to be thyroid hormone-regulated as probes to test whether these factors do in fact disrupt thyroid hormone action in the fetus and in the adult. Two of these genes are transcription factors implicated in cell proliferation. Thus, we are pursuing the possibility that maternal thyroid hormone is involved in the regulation of cortical cell number by regulating the expression of these transcription factors.

Representative publications:

Zoeller, R.T. and Rovet, J.A. 2002. Timing of thyroid hormone actions in the developing brain - clinical observations and experimental findings. J. Neuroendocrinol. (in press).

Yang, J. and Zoeller, R.T. 2002. Differential display identifies neuroendocrine-specific protein-A (NSP-A) and interferon-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) as ethanol-responsive genes in the fetal rat brain. Developmental Brain Research 138: 117-133.

Zoeller, R.T. 2001. Challenges confronting risk analysis of thyroid toxicants. Risk Analysis (in press).

Zoeller, R.T. , Dowling, A.L.S., Herzig, C.T.A., Iannacone, E.A., Gauger, K.J., and Bansal, R. 2001. Thyroid hormone, brain development, and the environment. Environmental Health Perspectives 110 (Suppl 3): 355-362.

Iannacone, E.I., Yan, A.W., Dowling, A.L.S., and Zoeller, R.T. 2001. Thyroid hormone exerts site-specific effects on SRC-1 and NcoR expression selectively in the neonatal rat brain. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 186(1): 49-59.

Yen, G., A. Croci, A. Dowling, S. Zhang, R. T. Zoeller and D. S. Darling (2001). "Developmental and functional evidence of a role for Zfhep in neural cell development." Brain Res Mol Brain Res 96(1-2): 59-67.

Dowling, A. L., E. A. Iannacone and R. T. Zoeller (2001). "Maternal hypothyroidism selectively affects the expression of neuroendocrine-specific protein A messenger ribonucleic acid in the proliferative zone of the fetal rat brain cortex." Endocrinology 142(1): 390-9.

Zoeller RT. (2001). Polychlorinated Biphenyls as Disruptors of Thyroid Hormone Action. In: Recent Advances in the Environmental Toxicology and Health Effects of PCBs (In Press).

Dowling ALS, Martz GU, Leonard JL, Zoeller RT. 2000 Acute Changes in Maternal Thyroid Hormone Induce Rapid and Transient Changes in Specific Gene Expression in Fetal Rat Brain. Journal of Neuroscience 20(6): 2255-2265.

Zoeller RT, Dowling ALS, Vas AA 2000 Developmental Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Exerts Thyroid Hormone-Like Effects on the Expression of RC3/Neurogranin and Myelin Basic Protein mRNAs in the Developing Rat Brain. Endocrinology 141: 181-189.

Slikker W and Zoeller RT 2000 Hot new topics in developmental neurotoxicology - novel and changing perspectives: Session X summary and research needs. Neurotoxicology 21: 279-280.

Zoeller RT and Crofton KM. 2000. Thyroid Hormone Action in Fetal Brain Development and Potential for Disruption by Environmental Chemicals. NeuroToxicology (In Press)

Dowling ALS and Zoeller RT 2000 Thyroid Hormone of Maternal Origin Regulates The Expression Of RC3/Neurogranin mRNA In The Fetal Rat Brain. Molecular Brain Research (In Press).

Dowling ALS, Iannacone EI, and Zoeller RT 2000. Maternal Hypothyroidism Selectively Affects the Expression of Neuroendocrine-Specific Protein-A mRNA in the Fetal Rat Brain. Endocrinology 142(1): (In Press).