nivia_perez_acevedoDr. Nivia L. Pérez-Acevedo

Associate Professor
Med Sci Campus Main Bldg, Lab A556/A557/A558
787-758-2525 x1512

RESEARCH INTEREST: The long-term goal of my laboratory is to understand the neural basis of anxiety. Females exhibit a higher incidence of anxiety disorders than males, which raises the distinct possibility that the available therapies may not be equally effective in both sexes due to gonadal hormone differences. Therefore, by providing greater insights into the neural basis of anxiety and the impact of sex differences on the underlying mechanisms, our research project should contribute to the development of more effective treatments for anxiety disorders and at the same time, scientific knowledge will be augmented in the field. The objective of my research project is to study the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in the amygdala on anxiety, according to sex. We focus on mGluRs of the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala complex (BLA), and determine whether estradiol modulates female anxiety by itself or through an interaction of estrogen receptors with group I mGluRs. I am also interested in determining sex differences in response to anxiolytics, using the rat model.  I employ a combination of multidisciplinary approaches including brain cannulation, behavioral and anatomical analyses, confocal imaging, neurochemical assays and western blot techniques for the molecular assessments of changes in expression. A simple experimental assay will test the effects of mGluR activation on specific behavioral tasks associated with anxiety-related behaviors.

Selected Publications:

  • De Jesús-Burgos MI, González-García S, Cruz-Santa Y and Pérez-Acevedo NL.  2015.  Amygdalar activation of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors produces anti- and pro- conflict effects depending upon animal sex in a sexually dimorphic conditioned conflict-based anxiety model.  Behavioral Brain Research Apr1:303:200-12. PMID:26777900.
  • Pérez N., Sosa MA, Kuffler DP. 1997. Growth cones turn up concentration gradients of diffusible peripheral target-derived factors. Exp. Neurol 145:196-202.
  • Pérez-Acevedo NL, Marrero H, del Castillo J, Smith DS. 1998. Transient wrinkles in a variable length tendon. In: R. Mooi and M. Telford, Echinoderms: San Francisco. A.A. Balkema, Rotherdan, Netherlands, pp. 783-790.
  • Del Castillo, J., Hime, J., and Pérez-Acevedo, N. 1998. A short history of electrophysiology and its techniques. Section III. Electrophysiological instruments and techniques. Puerto Rico Health Science Journal, 17 (1): 81-88.
  • Krenz WD, Nguyen D, Pérez-Acevedo NL, Selverston AI. 2000. Group I, II, and III mGluR compounds affect rhythm generation in the gastric circuit of the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion, J Neurophysiol Mar;83(3):1188-201.
  • Pérez Acevedo NL and Krenz WD. 2005. Metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists modify the pyloric output of the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion, Brain Res 1662(1-2): 1-8.
  • Pérez-Acevedo NL, Lathroum LP and Jorge JC. 2006. Sex-specific modulation of affect after infusion of the neurosteroid 3αDIOL in the basolateral amygdala, Behav Neurosci, Jun;120(3):632-640.
  • De Jesús Burgos MI, Torres-Llenza V and Pérez-Acevedo NL. 2012. Activation of amygdalar metabotropic glutamate receptors modulates anxiety, and risk assessment behaviors in ovariectomized estradiol-treated female rats. Pharmacol Biochem and Behavior.101:369-378.

  • Ramos-Pratts K*, Rosa-González D, Pérez-Acevedo NL, Cintrón-López D, Barreto-Estrada JL (2013) Sex-specific effect of the anabolic steroid, 17α-methyltestosterone, on inhibitory avoidance learning in periadolescent rats. Behav Processes. 99:73-80.

Selected Abstracts:

  • De Jesús-Burgos MI, Pérez-Acevedo, NL. Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors are involved in female generalized anxiety without affecting the acquisition of emotional memory. IBNS, Bahamas, 2009.

  • Cruz-Santana Y, De Jesús-Burgos M, Vázquez-Acevedo N, Pérez-Acevedo NL. Activation of amygdala group I metabotropic glutamate receptors modulate innate defensive behaviors in the rat male. Exp Biol 2010
  • De Jesús-Burgos MI, Pérez-Acevedo NL. Female Anxiety: Role of Estradiol and Group I Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor within the Amygdala. Experimental Biology, 2010
  • De Jesús-Burgos M, Cruz-Santana Y, and Pérez-Acevedo NL. Estradiol and metabotropic glutamate receptors interplay within the anxiety neural circuitry at the behavioral and protein levels. Experimental Biology, 2011
  • Cruz-Santana Y, De Jesús-Burgos M, Vazquez-Acevedo N, Pérez-Acevedo N. Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors within the basolateral amygdala modulate adaptive defensive responses in male rats. Experimental Biology DC, 2011.
  • De Jesús-Burgos M, Cruz-Santana Y, and Pérez-Acevedo NL. Intra-amygdala infusion of a group I mGluR agonist modulates passive and active defensive behaviors in a sex specific manner. IBNS, 2011.
  • González-García* S, De Jesús-Burgos M and Pérez-Acevedo NL. Modulation of defensive responses by intra-amygdalar infusion of DHPG, are partially mediated by mGluR5 subtype activation in female and male rats. XXXII Foro Annual de Investigación y Educación. Medical Sciences Campus – UPR 2012.