Hugo Eiler, DVM, MS, Ph.D.
Phone: (865) 974-5821
FAX: (865) 974-2215
D.V.M., University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
M.S., University of Georgia
Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana
Veterinary Physiology (veterinary curriculum)
Disorders of the Endocrine System (graduate program)
Animal Physiology (graduate program)
We focused our research in two areas: reproduction and veterinary endocrinology. In terms of reproduction, we are investigating how the fetus signals the mother that it is time for delivery. This involves the identification of endocrine signals, where they originate, and the way they function. The core of our working hypothesis is that the fetal intestine produces a horome-like substance (serotonin) capable of regulating pregnancy. Serotonin is secreted into fetal blood from the fetal intestine. During pregnancy, fetal serotonin promotes the growth of placenta. However, at the end of gestation, there is a withdrawal of serotonin from fetal blood which causes arrest of placental growth and placenta detachment. A partial failure of this mechanism may cause retention of placenta in the postpartum female. Identification of the site of failure may allow is to develop a new treatment for retained placenta not only in cows and mares, but also in women. This kind of research involves laboratory work with cell culture systems, cell proliferation assays, histochemistry, biochemistry, isolated organs, cows, sheep, and laboratory animals. In the area of veterinary endocrinology, we concentrate our effort on the development of diagnostic techniques for the identification of pituitary gland tumors that may affect the functioning of the adrenal axis and pancreas in dogs and horses. This research implies collaboration with clinicians and an endocrine laboratory.