Anthony J. Zeleznik, PhD

Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and Cell Biology and Physiology


The principal focus of the Zeleznik laboratory has been to understand the physiology and cell biology of ovarian cyclicity (follicular development and selection, luteinization and luteolysis) during the primate menstrual cycle. Over a 36 year period of continuous NIH funding, Dr Zeleznik used macaque monkeys and human subjects to investigate the in vivo response of the ovaries to standardized infusion regimens of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone with the intent of identifying the physiological mechanisms by which a single follicle is selected to mature during the menstrual cycle as well as the physiological mechanisms by which the corpus luteum regresses during the spontaneous menstrual cycle and how the corpus luteum is rescued during early pregnancy.

At the cellular and molecular levels, Dr Zeleznik’s laboratory’s interests were in identifying the cellular signaling pathways used by FSH and LH to promote granulosa cell proliferation and differentiation. To accomplish this, he used replication-defective viral vectors to express constitutively active and dominant-negative and dominant-active mutants of gonadotropin receptors, protein kinases and transcription factors in cell culture and assess steroid production and mRNA’s that encode for specialized proteins involved in granulosa cell proliferation and differentiation.

Currently, Dr Zeleznik has a part time appointment with the University of Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Research Institute where his major role is to serve as a mentor for junior faculty members and research and clinical fellows currently in training.


Selected Publications

  • Zeleznik AJ, Kubik CJ: Ovarian responses in macaques to pulsatile infusion of FSH and LH: Increased sensitivity of the maturing follicle to FSH. Endocrinology, 119:2025, 1986.
  • Zeleznik AJ: Premature elevation of systemic estradiol reduces serum levels of follicle stimulating hormone and lengthens the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle in rhesus monkeys. Endocrinology, 109:352, 1981.
  • Zeleznik AJ, Schuler HM, Reichert LE, Jr: Gonadotropin-binding sites in the rhesus monkey ovary: Role of the vasculature in the selective distribution of human chorionic gonadotropin to the preovulatory follicle. Endocrinology, 109:356, 1981.
  • Ravindranath N. Phillips H, Ferrara N, Zeleznik AJ. Vascular endothelial growth factor messenger ribonucleic acid expression in the primate ovary. Endocrinology, 131:254-260, 1992.
  • Zeleznik, AJ In vivo responses of the primate corpus luteum to luteinizing hormone and chorionic gonadotropin. Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA) 95:11002-11007,1998.
  • Sullivan MW, Stewart-Aikers A, Krasnow JS, Berga SL, Zeleznik AJ. Ovarian responses in women to recombinant follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone: A role for LH in the final stages of follicular maturation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 84:228-232, 1999.
  • Zeleznik AJ, Saxena D, Little-Ihrig L. Protein kinase B is obligatory for follicle-stimulating hormone-induced granulosa cell differentiation. Endocrinology. 144:3985-3994, 2003
  • Escamilla-Hernandez R, Little-Ihrig L, Orwig KE, Yue J, Chandran U, Zeleznik AJ. Constitutively active protein kinase a qualitatively mimics the effects of follicle-stimulating hormone on granulosa cell differentiation. Mol Endocrinol. 2008 22:1842-1852
  • Plant, TM, Zeleznik AJ. Editors-in Chief. Knobil and Neill’s Physiology of Reproduction, Fourth Edition. Academic Press, 2015.
  • Puri P, Lynda Little-Ihrig L, Uma Chandran U, Nathan C Law NC, Mary Hunzicker-Dunn M, Zeleznik AJ. Protein Kinase A: The Master Kinase of Granulosa Cell Differentiation. Submitted for publication.