About the book
Survival in ever-changing environmental context hinges on the ability of an organism to adapt to various homeostatic challenges. Deeply rooted in evolutionary history, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis represents a primary physiological system that has been maintained by natural selection and conserved among species to promote adaptation and optimize survival. Therein, a healthy homeostatic response prompts a coordinated cascade of protective events across the metabolic, cardiovascular, immune, reproductive, and central nervous systems to mobilize the body’s resources to adapt to environmental shifts and to disengage quickly in appropriate contexts. Conversely, dysregulation, over-activity or inefficient termination of the axis may lead to a series of cascading failures across multiple physiological systems, amounting to aberrant neural and behavioural outputs. In this view, the HPA axis is currently the most researched biomarker of a varied set of physical and neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as a potential candidate for novel treatment strategies. This book intends to bring together latest developments in multidisciplinary research, presented by experts in the field to shed a critical light on the role of the HPA axis in human health and disease.