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Indiana University Bloomington

Dale Sengelaub

Dr. Dale Sengelaub



sengelau [at]

office: PY 372 | (812)855-9149

lab: Sengelabs: Motoneuron plasticity, therapeutics, and development
   PY A408 | (812)855-6461


Development of the nervous system; plasticity of neural structure and function

Educational Background

Ph.D., Cornell University, 1983

Areas of Study

  • Neuroscience

Research Topics

  • Hormonal control of neural development
  • Sex differences in neural structure
  • Neural plasticity
  • Neuroprotective/therapeutic effects of hormones

Research Summary:

Dr. Sengelaub studies the processes that regulate the structure of both the developing and adult nervous system, with particular emphasis on structure / behavior relationships. Using a variety of species, neural systems, and anatomical techniques, he addresses the factors that determine neuron number, distribution, morphology, and connectivity in the brain and spinal cord. Processes such as dendritic growth and retraction, and the maintenance of adult neuron morphology after nerve injury or spinal damage are of primary interest. His current projects include ontogeny and hormonal control of sex differences in the nervous system and the therapeutic use of steroid hormones after injury in adulthood.

Representative Publications

Little, C.M., Coons, K.D, Sengelaub, D.R. (2009) Neuroprotective effects of testosterone on the morphology and function of somatic motoneurons following the death of neighboring motoneurons. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 512:359-372.

Martin-Alguacil, N., Schober, J., Sengelaub, D.R., Pfaff, D., Shelley, D.N. (2008) Clitoral sexual arousal: Neuronal tracing study from the clitoris through the spinal tracts. The Journal of Urology, 180:1241-1248.

Sengelaub, D.R., Forger, N.G. (2008) The Spinal Nucleus of the Bulbocavernosus: Firsts in androgen-dependent neural sex differences. Hormones and Behavior, 53: 596-612.

Lenz, K.M., Graham, M.D., Parada, M., Fleming, A.S., Sengelaub, D.R., Monks, D.A. (2008) Tactile stimulation during artificial rearing influences adult function and morphology in a sexually dimorphic neuromuscular system. Developmental Neurobiology, 68: 542-557.

Fargo, K.W., Iwema, C.L., Clark-Phelps, M.C., Sengelaub, D.R. (2007) Androgen-mediated plasticity in an aging sexually dimorphic motor system. Hormones and Behavior, 51:20-30.

Osborne, M.C., Verhovshek, T., Sengelaub, D.R. (2007) Androgen regulates trkB expression in spinal motoneurons. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 85:303-309.

Fargo, K.N., Sengelaub, D.R. (2007) Androgenic, but not estrogenic, protection of motoneurons from somal and dendritic atrophy induced by the death of neighboring motoneurons. Developmental Neurobiology, 67:1094-1106.

Lenz, K.M., Sengelaub, D.R. (2006) Maternal licking influences dendritic development of motoneurons in a sexually dimorphic neuromuscular system. Brain Research, 1092:87-99.

Nowacek, A.S., Sengelaub, D.R. (2006) Estrogenic support of motoneuron dendritic growth via the neuromuscular periphery in a sexually dimorphic motor system. Journal of Neurobiology, 66: 962-976.

Verhovshek, T., Wellman, C.L., and Sengelaub, D.R. (2005) NMDA receptor binding declines differentially in three spinal motor nuclei during postnatal development. Neuroscience Letters, 384:122-126.

Yang, L.Y., Verhovshek, T., Sengelaub, D.R. (2004) BDNF and androgen interact in the maintenance of dendritic morphology in a sexually dimorphic rat spinal nucleus. Endocrinology, 145:161-168.

Fargo, K.N., Sengelaub, D.R. (2004) Testosterone manipulation protects motoneurons from dendritic atrophy after contralateral motoneuron depletion. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 469:96-106.

Foster, A.M., Sengelaub, D.R. (2004) Hormone sensitivity of muscle activation in a sexually dimorphic neuromuscular system of the rat. Neuroscience Letters, 359:41-44.

Foster, A.M., Sengelaub, D.R. (2004) Bilateral organization of unilaterally-generated activity in lumbar spinal motoneurons of the rat. Brain Research, 1009:98-109.

Fargo, K.N., Sengelaub, D.R. (2004) Exogenous testosterone prevents motoneuron atrophy induced by contralateral motoneuron depletion. Journal of Neurobiology, 60:348-359.

Hebbeler, S.L., Sengelaub, D.R. (2003) Development of a sexually dimorphic neuromuscular system in male rats after spinal transection: morphologic changes and implications for estrogen sites of action. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 467:80-96.