HPA flexibility and FKBP5: promising physiological targets for conservation

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2022.0512. This is version 1 of this Preprint.

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Cédric Zimmer, Blanca Jimeno, Lynn Martin


Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) flexibility is an emerging concept recognizing that individuals that will cope best with stressors will probably be those using their hormones in the most adaptive way. The HPA flexibility concept considers glucocorticoids as molecules that convey information about the environment from the brain to the body so that the organismal phenotype comes to complement prevailing conditions. In this context, FKBP5 protein appears to set the extent to which circulating glucocorticoid concentrations can vary within and across stressors. Thus, FKBP5 expression, and the HPA flexibility it causes, seem to represent an individual’s ability to regulate its hormones to orchestrate organismal responses to stressors. As FKBP5 expression can also be easily measured in blood, it could be a worthy target of conservation-oriented research attention. We first review the known and likely roles of HPA flexibility and FKBP5 in wildlife. We then describe putative genetic, environmental, and epigenetic causes of variation in HPA flexibility and FKBP5 expression among- and within-individuals. Finally, we hypothesize how HPA flexibility and FKBP5 expression should affect organismal fitness and hence population viability in response to human-induced rapid environmental changes, particularly urbanization.




Life Sciences


Stress, Urbanization, wildlife, coping, corticosterone, hormone, urbanization, wildlife, Coping, corticosterone, Hormone


Published: 2023-11-30 01:45

Last Updated: 2023-11-30 06:45


CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

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