Laboratory of Pituitary Regulation

General scope

Our laboratory has worked for almost 20 years unraveling the regulation of the pituitary, both in normal physiology and in pathological states.

We study the biochemical, physiological and molecular mechanisms that regulate pituitary function, and the effect of hormones at the central nervous system, in reproduction and metabolic control.

One of our aims is to propose alternative therapies in dopamine agonist resistant prolactinomas. We work with two transgenic mouse models which lack the dopamine receptor D2, and with human samples of resistant prolactinomas.

We also study the role of sexual differentiation of the hypothalamus in pituitary control, and its impact on GH regulation of hepatic sexual dimorphism.

We have recently undertaken the study of the participation of the pituitary in pancreatic function, in particular, trying to understand the development of type 2 diabetes in antipsychotic treatments.

Our laboratory also studies the role of the pituitary in milk production and parasite infection in dairy heifers in Argentine farms.

Laboratory of Pituitary Regulation

  • Laboratory Head

    PhD Damasia Becu de Villalobos Currículum Vitae

    Dra. Damasia Becú-Villalobos

    Ph.D. Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica (Universidad de Buenos Aires)

    Director of the Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine

    Researcher (CONICET)

  • Lab Members

    Dr. Lacau de Mengido, Bettina Independent Research, CONICET

    Dr. García Tornadú, Isabel Associate Researcher, CONICET

    Dr. Eleonora M. Sorianello. Associate researcher, CONICET

    Vet. Ornstein, Ana María Principal Professional. CPA, CONICET

    Lic. Belen Brie, Doctoral Fellow, ANPCYT

    Lic. Lopez Vicchi, Felicitas, Doctoral Fellow (CONICET)

    Lic. De Winne, Catalina. Doctoral Fellow (CONICET)



    Dr. Cristina, Carolina Associate Researcher, CITNOBA

    Dr. Juan Patricio Nogueira. Researcher CONICET- National University of Formosa

Damasia Becu

Publications 2007-onwards
  1. Selective disruption of dopamine D2 receptors in pituitary lactotropes increases body weight and adiposity in female mice. Perez Millan Maria Ines, Luque Guillermina Maria, Ramirez Maria Cecilia, Noain Daniela, Ornstein Ana Maria, Rubinstein Marcelo, Becu-Villalobos Damasia.. Endocrinology. 155:829-39:2014. COMMENTED BY EDITOR IN "NEWS AND VIEWS" (ENDOCRINOLOGY 155(3):659-662:2014)
  2. Expression and methylation status of female-predominant GH-dependent liver genes are modified by neonatal androgenization in female mice. Ramirez, Maria Cecilia; Zubeldía-Brenner, Lautaro;  Wargon, Victoria; Ornstein, Ana María; Becu-Villalobos, Damasia, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 382: (214): 825-834: 2013
  3. Sex differences in the pituitary transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) system. Studies in a model of resistant prolactinomas. Recouvreux MV, Lapyckyj L, Camilletti MA, Guida MC, Ornstein A, Rifkin DB, Becu-Villalobos D, Díaz-Torga G. Endocrinology. 2013. 154(11):4192-205.
  4. Gastrointestinal parasite control during prepuberty imporves mammary parenchyma development in Holstein Heifers. Adrián F. Perri1,, Miguel E. Mejía, Nicolás Licoff, Santiago S. Diab, Néstor Formía, Ana Ornstein, Damasia Becú-Villalobos, Isabel M. Lacau-Mengido. Veterinary Parasitology 2013 Dec 6;198(3-4):345-50.
  5. Ana Sahores, Guillermina M. Luque, Victoria Wargon, María May, Alfredo Molinolo, Damasia Becu-Villalobos, Claudia Lanari, Caroline A. Lamb. Novel, low cost, highly effective, handmade steroid pellets for experimental studies. Plos-ONE. 8(5) e64049: 2013.
  6. Daniela Noaín*, M. Inés Pérez-Millán*, Estefanía P. Bello, Guillermina M. Luque, Rodrigo Casas Cordero, Diego M. Gelman, Marcela Peper, Isabel García Tornadu, Malcolm J. Low, Damasia Becú-Villalobos, Marcelo Rubinstein. Central dopamine D2 receptors control body growth and male-to-male social and territorial behavior by a neuroendocrine-exocrine cascade. (* equal contribution). The Journal of Neuroscience. 2013:33(13):5834-5842. PubMed PMID: 23536095.
  7. Perez-Millan MI, Berner SI, Luque GM, De Bonis C, Sevlever G, Becu-Villalobos D, Cristina C. Enhanced nestin expression and small blood vessels in human pituitary adenomas Pituitary. En prensa 2013. PubMed PMID: 22886682.
  8. Mejía ME, Perri AF, Licoff N, Miglierina MM, Cseh S, Ornstein AM, Becu-Villalobos D, Lacau-Mengido IM. Comparison of three methods for gastrointestinal nematode diagnosis determination in grazing dairy cattle in relation to milk production. Vet Parasitol. 2011 Dec 29;183(1-2):174-7. Epub 2011 Jul 8. PubMed PMID: 21798669.
  9. Recouvreux MV, Guida MC, Rifkin DB, Becu-Villalobos D, Díaz-Torga G. Active and total transforming growth factor-β1 are differentially regulated by dopamine and estradiol in the pituitary. Endocrinology. 2011 Jul;152(7):2722-30. Epub 2011 Apr 26. PubMed PMID: 21521749; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3115611.
  10. Luque GM, Perez-Millán MI, Ornstein AM, Cristina C, Becu-Villalobos D. Inhibitory effects of antivascular endothelial growth factor strategies in experimental dopamine-resistant prolactinomas. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2011 Jun;337(3):766-74. Epub 2011 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 21406548.
  11. Perri AF, Mejía ME, Licoff N, Lazaro L, Miglierina M, Ornstein A, Becu-Villalobos D, Lacau-Mengido IM. Gastrointestinal parasites presence during the peripartum decreases total milk production in grazing dairy Holstein cowsVet Parasitol. 2011 Jun 10;178(3-4):311-8. Epub 2011 Jan 12. PubMed PMID: 21269774.
  12. Garcia-Tornadú I, Perez-Millan MI, Recouvreux V, Ramirez MC, Luque G, Risso GS, Ornstein AM, Cristina C, Diaz-Torga G, Becu-Villalobos D. New insights into the endocrine and metabolic roles of dopamine D2 receptors gained from the Drd2 mouse. Neuroendocrinology. 2010;92(4):207-14. Epub 2010 Oct 23. Review. PubMed PMID: 20975260.
  13. Ramirez MC, Luque GM, Ornstein AM, Becu-Villalobos D. Differential neonatal testosterone imprinting of GH-dependent liver proteins and genes in female mice. J Endocrinol. 2010 Dec;207(3):301-8. Epub 2010 Oct 13. PubMed PMID: 20943812.
  14. Becú-Villalobos D. [Defining sex]. Medicina (B Aires). 2010;70(5):469-70. Spanish. PubMed PMID: 20920969.
  15. García-Tornadu I, Risso G, Perez-Millan MI, Noain D, Diaz-Torga G, Low MJ, Rubinstein M, Becu-Villalobos D. Neurotransmitter modulation of the GHRH-GH axis. Front Horm Res. 2010;38:59-69. Epub 2010 Jul 5. Review. PubMed PMID: 20616496.
  16. Cristina C*, Perez-Millan MI*, Luque G, Dulce RA, Sevlever G, Berner SI, Becu-Villalobos D. VEGF and CD31 association in pituitary adenomas. (* equal contribution). Endocr Pathol. 2010 Sep;21(3):154-60. PubMed PMID: 20473646.
  17. García-Tornadú I, Ornstein AM, Chamson-Reig A, Wheeler MB, Hill DJ, Arany E, Rubinstein M, Becu-Villalobos D. Disruption of the dopamine d2 receptor impairs insulin secretion and causes glucose intolerance. Endocrinology. 2010 Apr;151(4):1441-50. Epub 2010 Feb 10. PubMed PMID: 20147524.
  18. Mejía ME, Perri AF, Miglierina MM, Formía N, Becú-Villalobos D, Lacau-Mengido IM. Effect of anthelmintics on reproductive performance and first-lactation culling rate in Holstein heifers. Vet Rec. 2009 Dec 26;165(25):743-6. PubMed PMID: 20023278.
  19. Millán MI, Becú-Villalobos D. [The green fluorescent protein that glows in bioscience]. Medicina (B Aires). 2009;69(3):370-4. Review. Spanish.PubMed PMID: 19622489.
  20. García-Tornadú I, Díaz-Torga G, Risso GS, Silveyra P, Cataldi N, Ramirez MC, Low MJ, Libertun C, Becu-Villalobos D. Hypothalamic orexin, OX1, alphaMSH, NPY and MCRs expression in dopaminergic D2R knockout mice. Neuropeptides. 2009 Aug;43(4):267-74. Epub 2009 Jun 30. PubMed PMID: 19570576.
  21. Becu-Villalobos D. [Thirty years of the first test tube baby. Gattaca or Darwin?]. Medicina (B Aires). 2009;69(1 Pt 2):201-3. Spanish. PubMed PMID: 19414308.
  22. Mallea-Gil MS, Cristina C, Perez-Millan MI, Villafañe AM, Ballarino C, Stalldecker G, Becu-Villalobos D. Invasive giant prolactinoma with loss of therapeutic response to cabergoline: expression of angiogenic markers. Endocr Pathol. 2009 Spring;20(1):35-40. PubMed PMID: 19172414.
  23. Cristina C, Díaz-Torga G, Góngora A, Guida MC, Perez-Millán MI, Baldi A, Becu-Villalobos D. Fibroblast growth factor-2 in hyperplastic pituitaries of D2R knockout female mice. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Nov;293(5):E1341-51. Epub 2007 Sep 11. PubMed PMID: 17848635.
  24. Becú-Villalobos D, García-Tornadú I, Shroeder G, Salado EE, Gagliostro G, Delavaud C, Chilliard Y, Lacau-Mengido IM. Effect of fat supplementation on leptin, insulin-like growth factor I, growth hormone, and insulin in cattle. Can J Vet Res. 2007 Jul;71(3):218-25. PubMed PMID: 17695598; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1899869.
  25. Vela J, Pérez-Millán MI, Becu-Villalobos D, Díaz-Torga G. Different kinases regulate activation of voltage-dependent calcium channels by depolarization in GH3 cells. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2007 Sep;293(3):C951-9. Epub 2007 May 16. PubMed PMID: 17507432.
  26. Cristina C, Díaz-Torga GS, Goya RG, Kakar SS, Perez-Millán MI, Passos VQ, Giannella-Neto D, Bronstein MD, Becu-Villalobos D. PTTG expression in different experimental and human prolactinomas in relation to dopaminergic control of lactotropes. Mol Cancer. 2007 Jan 12;6:4. PubMed PMID: 17222350; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1779802.