Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Health Sciences profile

Associate Professor Stephen Bunn

PositionAssociate Professor
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
QualificationsBSc(Hons)(Sur) PhD(Lond)
Research summaryThe neuroendocrinology of stress
TeachingI am the Academic Coordinator of CELS 191 and 199, the former being a major part of the Health Sciences First Year program as well as most Biological Science degrees. I also teach into 200 and 300-level Neuroscience and Cell Biology papers in the Anatomy Department. As Post-Graduate Coordinator for the Department I am responsible for assisting students in finding an appropriate post-graduate supervisor and structuring their 400-level year. As part of this activity I coordinate and teach into the Department's core 400-level paper ANAT 458 as well run the final oral exams for our Honours students.
MembershipsMember of; the Australasian Society for Neuroscience, British Society for Neuroendocrinology, the Society for Neuroscience, and the New Zealand Endocrine Society.

Research

As a member of the University of Otago Centre for Neuroendocrinology my interests are focused on the interaction of hormones and the brain. While it has been accepted for many years that particular regions of the brain control circulating hormone levels it has become increasingly apparent that the relationship is bidirectional, with many hormones having profound effects on the brain. Much of my research has been directed at understanding the role this neuroendocrine relationship plays in helping us adapt to stress. Using a wide range of experimental models from isolated cells to transgenic animals we are currently exploring the role of lesser-known stress-activated signals including the lactation-associated hormone prolactin or immune-derived cytokines such as interleukin-6. Our studies are revealing unexpected physiological targets for these signals that suggest that they have the potential to modulate brain activity. While my research addresses fundamental biology rather than disease-specific issues there is increasing evidence to suggest that physiologically inappropriate hormonal signalling to the brain may lie at the heart of many as yet unresolved clinical problems, such as weight regulation, diabetes, infertility and perhaps even some forms of mental illness.

Publications

Kirk, S. E., Xie, T. Y., Steyn, F. J., Grattan, D. R., & Bunn, S. J. (2017). Restraint stress increases prolactin-mediated phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 in the hypothalamus and adrenal cortex in the male mouse. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.12477

Gustafson, P., Kokay, I., Sapsford, T., Bunn, S., & Grattan, D. (2017). Prolactin regulation of the HPA axis is not mediated by a direct action upon CRH neurons: Evidence from the rat and mouse. Brain Structure & Function. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00429-017-1395-1

Gustafson, P., Bunn, S., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). The role of prolactin in the suppression of Crh mRNA expression during pregnancy and lactation in the mouse. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.12511

Jenkins, D. E., Sreenivasan, D., Carman, F., Babru, S., Eiden, L. E., & Bunn, S. J. (2016). Interleukin-6-mediated signaling in adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. Journal of Neurochemistry, 139(6), 1138-1150. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13870

Romanò, N., Yip, S. H., Hodson, D. J., Guillou, A., Parnaudeau, S., Kirk, S., … Bunn, S. J., Grattan, D. R., … Martin, A. O. (2013). Plasticity of hypothalamic dopamine neurons during lactation results in dissociation of electrical activity and release. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(10), 4424-4433. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.4415-12.2013

Edited Book - Research

Powis, D. A., & Bunn, S. J. (Eds.). (1995). Neurotransmitter Release and its Modulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 10p.

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Article

Kirk, S. E., Xie, T. Y., Steyn, F. J., Grattan, D. R., & Bunn, S. J. (2017). Restraint stress increases prolactin-mediated phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 in the hypothalamus and adrenal cortex in the male mouse. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.12477

Gustafson, P., Bunn, S., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). The role of prolactin in the suppression of Crh mRNA expression during pregnancy and lactation in the mouse. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.12511

Gustafson, P., Kokay, I., Sapsford, T., Bunn, S., & Grattan, D. (2017). Prolactin regulation of the HPA axis is not mediated by a direct action upon CRH neurons: Evidence from the rat and mouse. Brain Structure & Function. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00429-017-1395-1

Jenkins, D. E., Sreenivasan, D., Carman, F., Babru, S., Eiden, L. E., & Bunn, S. J. (2016). Interleukin-6-mediated signaling in adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. Journal of Neurochemistry, 139(6), 1138-1150. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13870

Romanò, N., Yip, S. H., Hodson, D. J., Guillou, A., Parnaudeau, S., Kirk, S., … Bunn, S. J., Grattan, D. R., … Martin, A. O. (2013). Plasticity of hypothalamic dopamine neurons during lactation results in dissociation of electrical activity and release. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(10), 4424-4433. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.4415-12.2013

Samal, B., Ait-Ali, D., Bunn, S., Mustafa, T., & Eiden, L. E. (2013). Discrete signal transduction pathway utilization by a neuropeptide (PACAP) and a cytokine (TNF-alpha) first messenger in chromaffin cells, inferred from coupled transcriptome-promoter analysis of regulated gene cohorts. Peptides, 45, 48-60. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2013.03.020

Yip, S. H., Eguchi, R., Grattan, D. R., & Bunn, S. J. (2012). Prolactin signalling in the mouse hypothalamus is primarily mediated by signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 5b but not 5a. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 24(12), 1484-1491. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2012.02357.x

Bunn, S. J., Ait-Ali, D., & Eiden, L. E. (2012). Immune-neuroendocrine integration at the adrenal gland: Cytokine control of the adrenomedullary transcriptome. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, 48(2), 413-419. doi: 10.1007/s12031-012-9745-1

Knowles, P. J., Douglas, S. A., & Bunn, S. J. (2011). Nicotinic stimulation of catecholamine synthesis and tyrosine hydroxylase phosphorylation in cervine adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 23(3), 224-231. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2010.02100.x

Douglas, S. A., Sreenivasan, D., Carman, F. H., & Bunn, S. J. (2010). Cytokine interactions with adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology, 30(8), 1467-1475. doi: 10.1007/s10571-010-9593-x

Douglas, S. A., & Bunn, S. J. (2009). Interferon-α signalling in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells: Involvement of signal-transducer and activator of transcription 1 and 2, extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1/2 and serine 31 phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 21(3), 200-207. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2009.01821.x

Douglas, S. A., Stevenson, K. E., Knowles, P. J., & Bunn, S. J. (2008). Characterization of catecholamine release from deer adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. Neuroscience Letters, 445(1), 126-129. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.08.060

Grattan, D. R., Steyn, F. J., Kokay, I. C., Anderson, G. M., & Bunn, S. J. (2008). Pregnancy-induced adaptation in the neuroendocrine control of prolactin secretion. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 20(4), 497-507. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01661.x

Anderson, G. M., Beijer, P., Bang, A. S., Fenwick, M. A., Bunn, S. J., & Grattan, D. R. (2006). Suppression of prolactin-induced signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b signaling and induction of suppressors of cytokine signaling messenger ribonucleic acid in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of the rat during late pregnancy and lactation. Endocrinology, 147(10), 4996-5005.

O'Sullivan, K. M., & Bunn, S. J. (2006). Phospholipase C isozymes are differentially distributed in the rat adrenal medulla. Neuroscience Letters, 396, 212-216. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2005.11.033

Ma, F. Y., Anderson, G. M., Gunn, T. D., Goffin, V., Grattan, D. R., & Bunn, S. J. (2005). Prolactin specifically activates signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b in neuroendocrine dopaminergic neurons. Endocrinology, 146(12), 5112-5119.

Ma, F. Y., Grattan, D. R., Goffin, V., & Bunn, S. J. (2005). Prolacting-regulated tyrosine hydroxylase activity and messenger ribonucleic acid expression in mediobasal hypothalamic cultures: The differential role of specific protein kinases. Endocrinology, 146(1), 93-102.

Ma, F. Y., Grattan, D. R., Bobrovskaya, L., Dunkley, P. R., & Bunn, S. J. (2004). Angiotensin II regulates tyrosine hydroxylase activity and mRNA expression in rat mediobasal hypothalamic cultures: The role of specific protein kinases. Journal of Neurochemistry.

O'Connell, G., Douglas, S., & Bunn, S. J. (2003). The involvement of specific phospholipase C isozymes in catecholamine release from digitonin permeabilized bovine adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. Neuroscience Letters, 342, 1-4.

Tompkins, M., Gai, W. P., Douglas, S., & Bunn, S. J. (2003). α-Synuclein expression localizes to the Golgi apparatus in bovine adrenal medullary chromaffin cells. Brain Research, 984, 233-236.

Grattan, D. R., Xu, J., McLachlan, M. J., Kokay, I. C., Bunn, S. J., Hovey, R. C., & Davey, H. W. (2001). Feedback regulation of PRL secretion is mediated by the transcription factor, signal transducer, and activator of transcription 5b. Endocrinology, 142(9), 3935-3940.

Grattan, D. R., Pi, X. J., Andrews, Z. B., Augustine, R. A., Kokay, I. C., Summerfield, M. R., Todd, B., & Bunn, S. J. (2001). Prolactin receptors in the brain during pregnancy and lactation: Implications for behaviour. Hormones & Behavior, 40, 115-124.

Roberts-Thomson, E., Palmer, S. M., Powis, D. A., & Bunn, S. J. (2000). Histamine-stimulated phospholipase C activity in bovine adrenal medullary chromaffin cells: The effect of chloride-channel antagonists and low extracellular chloride concentrations. Neuroscience Letters, 278, 93-96.

Roberts-Thomson, E., Saunders, H. I., Palmer, S. M., Powis, D. A., Dunkley, P. R., & Bunn, S. J. (2000). Ca2+ influx stimulated phospholipase C activity in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells: Responses to K+ depolarization and histamine. European Journal of Pharmacology, 398, 199-207.

Cheah, T. B., Bobrovskaya, L., Goncalves, C.-A., Hall, A., Elliot, R., Lengyel, I., Bunn, S. J., … Dunkley, P. R. (1999). Simultaneous measurement of tyrosin hydroxylase activity and phosphorylation in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 87, 167-174.

Bobrovskaya, L., Cheah, T. B., Bunn, S. J., & Dunkley, P. R. (1998). Tyrosine hydroxylase in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells: Angiotensin II-stimulated activity and phosphorylation of Ser19, Ser31, and Ser40. Journal of Neurochemistry, 70, 2565-2573.

Zerbes, M., Bunn, S. J., & Powis, D. A. (1998). Histamine causes Ca2+ entry via both a store-operated and a store-independent pathway in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. Cell Calcium, 23(6), 379-386.

Bunn, S. J., & Dunkley, P. R. (1997). Histamine-stimulated phospholipase C signalling in the adrenal medullary chromaffin cell: Effect on inositol phospholipid metabolism and tyrosine hydroxylase phosphorylation. Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology, 24, 624-631.

More publications...