MacArthur SES & Health Network

Bruce McEwen

Bruce McEwen

Professor, Rockefeller University Head of the Harold & Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology

Address: c/o: Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology
Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021-6399
Tel: (212) 327-8624
Fax: (212) 327-8634

Oberlin College, Summa Cum Laude in chemistry
A.B. 1959

Rockefeller Unversity
Ph.D. in Cell Biology, 1964

Research Interests

Bruce McEwen's laboratory research deals with the impact of stress and stress hormones on the brain and on immune function. His and his laboratory colleagues also study sex differences and sex hormone, especially estrogen, effects on the brain, particularly those effects that are "non-reproductive". This work has led to a realization that stress hormone effects are biphasic---protective in the short run and potentially damaging in the long run. Hence the title of his seminal New England Journal of Medicine paper on allostatic load published in 1998. The work of his laboratory also points to the importance of studying gender differences in many of these effects. He and his colleagues attempt in their work to translate from basic research to human applications and have a number of collaborations or consultant arrangements with projects doing human brain imagining and/or studying human subjects in relation to biological mediators of allostatic load. Bruce McEwen plays a major role in the Network through his continued conceptual development of the allostasis/allostatic load model and in providing advice in its validation and its application to various research projects.

Selected Publications

Sapolsky, R.M., Krey, L.C., McEwen, B.S. The neuroendocrinology of stress and aging: the glucocorticoid cascade hypothesis. Endocr. Rev. 7:284 (1986)

McEwen, B.S. Re-examination of the glucocorticoid hypothesis of stress and aging. In: Prog. Brain Res (D. Swaab, M. Hofman, M. Mirmiran, R. Ravid, F. van Leeuwen, eds.) 93:365-383 (1992)

McEwen, B.S. and Stellar, E. Stress and the Individual: Mechanisms leading to disease. Arch. Intern. Med. 153:2093-2101 (1993).

Seeman, T.E. and McEwen, B.S. The impact of social environment characteristics on neuroendocrine regulation. Psychosomatic Med 58:459-471 (1996).

Seeman, T.E., McEwen, B.S., Singer, B.H. Albert, M.S., Rowe, J. W. Increase in urinary cortisol excretion and memory declines: MacArthur studies of successful aging. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 82:2458-2465 (1997).

Seeman,T.E., Singer,B.H., Rowe,J.W., Horwitz,R.I., McEwen, B.S. Price of adaptation -- allostatic load and its health consequences. Arch Intern Med. 157: 2259-2268 (1997).

McEwen, B.S. Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England J. Med. 338: 171-179 (1998).

Epel, E.S., McEwen, B.S., and Ickovics, J.R. Embodying psychological thriving: Physical thriving in response to stress. J. Social Issues 54:301-322 (1998).

McEwen, B.S. Excitotoxicity, stress hormones and the aging nervous system. Integrat. Med. 1:135-141 (1998).

McEwen, B.S. Stress, adaptation, and disease: Allostasis and allostatic load. Annals NY Acad. Sci. 840:33-44 (1998).

McEwen, B.S. Stress and the aging hippocampus. Fron. Neuroendocrin. 20:49-70 (1999).

McEwen, B.S. The molecular and neuroanatomical basis for estrogen effects in the central nervous system. J. Clin. Endocrinol. & Metabol. 84:1790-1797. (1999)

McEwen, B.S. Permanence of brain sex differences and structural plasticity of the adult brain. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96:7128-7130 (1999).

McEwen, B.S., de Leon, M.J., Lupien, S.J., and Meaney, M.J. Corticosteroids, the aging brain and cognition. TEM 10:92-96 (1999).

McEwen, B. S. & Seeman, T. Protective and damaging effects of mediators of stress: Elaborating and testing the concepts of allostasis and allostatic load. In Adler, N.E., Marmot, M., McEwen, B.S. & Stewart, J. (Eds.) (1999). Socioeconomic Status and Health in Industrial Nations: Social, Psychological and Biological Pathways. Ann NY Acad Sci. Vol #:896.

McEwen, B.S. Allostasis and allostatic load: Implications for neuropsychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharmacology 22:108-124 (2000).

Dhabhar, F.S. & McEwen, B.S. (2000). Bidirectional effects of stress and glucocorticoid hormones on immune function: Possible explanations for paradoxical observations. In R. Ader, D. L. Felton & N. Cohen (Eds.) Psychoneuorimmunology Third Edition. Academic Press, 301-338.

Epel, E., McEwen B., Seeman, T., Matthews, K., Castellazzo, G., Brownell, K., Bell, J. & Ickovics, J. (2000). Stress and body shape: Stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62, 623-632.

Ljung, T., Holm, G., Friberg, P., Andersson, B., Bengtsson, B., Svensson, J., Dallman, M., McEwen, B. & Bjortorp, P. (2000). The activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system in relation to waist/hip circumference ratio in men. Obesity Research, 8(7), 487-495.

Lupien, S.J., King, S., Meaney, M. J. & McEwen, B.S. (2001). Can poverty get under your skin? Basal cortisol levels and cognitive function in children from low and high socioeconomic status. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 653-676.

McEwen, B.S. & Goodman, H.M. (Eds.) (2001). Coping with the environment: Neural and endocrine mechanisms. Volume IV of the Handbook of Physiology (Section 7: The endocrine system). New York: Oxford University Press.

Karlamangla, A.S., Singer, B.H., McEwen, B.S., Rowe, J.W. & Seeman, T.E. (2002). Allostatic load as a predictor of functional decline: MacArthur studies of successful aging. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 55(7), 696-710.

McEwen, B.S. & Dhabhar, F. (2002). Stress in adolescent females: Relationship to autoimmune diseases. Journal of Adolescent Health, 305, 30-36.

McEwen, B.S. & Seeman, T. (2003). Stress and affect: Applicability of the concepts of allostasis and allostatic load. In R.J. Davidson, K.R. Scherer & H.H. Goldsmith (Eds.) Handbook of Affective Sciences. New York: Oxford University Press, 1117-1137.

Internet Links

Bruce McEwen's Rockefeller website


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