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Otago Medical School staff profiles

Professor Colin Brown

PositionProfessor
DepartmentDepartment of Physiology
QualificationsBSc(Hons) PhD
Research summaryNeuroendocrinology

Research

Our research group principally uses electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry to determine how the brain controls birth, lactation, food intake and water balance. We currently focus on the control of the secretion of the hormone, oxytocin, which is necessary for birth and lactation, and is involved in driving increased food intake during pregnancy. We are also investigating how vasopressin (anti-diuretic hormone) neurons prevent water loss in the urine to protect from dehydration and how malfunction of vasopressin neurons might contribute to the development of hypertension.

Publications

Korpal, A. K., Han, S. Y., Schwenke, D. O., & Brown, C. H. (2018). A switch from GABA inhibition to excitation of vasopressin neurones exacerbates the development angiotensin II-dependent hypertension. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 30(8), e12564. doi: 10.1111/jne.12564

Roy, R. K., Augustine, R. A., Brown, C. H., & Schwenke, D. O. (2018). Activation of oxytocin neurons in the paraventricular nucleus drives cardiac sympathetic nerve activation following myocardial infarction in rats. Communications Biology, 1, 160. doi: 10.1038/s42003-018-0169-5

Korpal, A. K., Brown, C. H., & Schwenke, D. O. (2018). Assessing the role of hypothalamic microglia and blood vessel disruption in the development of angiotensin II-dependent hypertension in Cyp1a1-Ren2 rats. Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology, 470(6), 883-895. doi: 10.1007/s00424-018-2128-x

Augustine, R. A., Seymour, A. J., Campbell, R. E., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, C. H. (2018). Integrative neurohumoral regulation of oxytocin neurone activity in pregnancy and lactation. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 30(8), e12569. doi: 10.1111/jne.12569

Seymour, A. J., Scott, V., Augustine, R. A., Bouwer, G. T., Campbell, R. E., & Brown, C. H. (2017). Development of an excitatory kisspeptin projection to the oxytocin system in late pregnancy. Journal of Physiology, 595(3), 825-838. doi: 10.1113/jp273051

Chapter in Book - Research

Brown, C. H. (2016). Magnocellular neurons and posterior pituitary function. In D. M. Pollock (Ed.), Comprehensive physiology (Vol. 6). (pp. 1701-1741). American Physiological Society. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c150053

Brown, C. H., Han, S. Y., Moaddab, M., Scott, V., & Schwenke, D. O. (2015). Peptidergic control of oxytocin and vasopressin neurons and its role in reproduction and hypertension-associated plasticity. In W. E. Armstrong & J. G. Tasker (Eds.), Neurophysiology of neuroendocrine neurons. (pp. 63-84). Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781118606803.ch3

Brown, C. H. (2005). Autocrine modulation of excitability by dendritic peptide release from magnocellular neurosecretory cells. In M. Ludwig (Ed.), Dendritic neurotransmitter release. (pp. 223-237). New York: Kluwer Academic.

Roper, P., Brown, C. H., Bourque, C. W., & Armstrong, W. E. (2005). Autoregulation of bursting of AVP neurons of the rat hypothalamus. In S. Coombes & P. C. Bressloff (Eds.), Bursting: The genesis of rhythm in the nervous system. (pp. 49-88). Singapore: World Scientific.

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Journal - Research Article

Korpal, A. K., Han, S. Y., Schwenke, D. O., & Brown, C. H. (2018). A switch from GABA inhibition to excitation of vasopressin neurones exacerbates the development angiotensin II-dependent hypertension. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 30(8), e12564. doi: 10.1111/jne.12564

Korpal, A. K., Brown, C. H., & Schwenke, D. O. (2018). Assessing the role of hypothalamic microglia and blood vessel disruption in the development of angiotensin II-dependent hypertension in Cyp1a1-Ren2 rats. Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology, 470(6), 883-895. doi: 10.1007/s00424-018-2128-x

Roy, R. K., Augustine, R. A., Brown, C. H., & Schwenke, D. O. (2018). Activation of oxytocin neurons in the paraventricular nucleus drives cardiac sympathetic nerve activation following myocardial infarction in rats. Communications Biology, 1, 160. doi: 10.1038/s42003-018-0169-5

Seymour, A. J., Scott, V., Augustine, R. A., Bouwer, G. T., Campbell, R. E., & Brown, C. H. (2017). Development of an excitatory kisspeptin projection to the oxytocin system in late pregnancy. Journal of Physiology, 595(3), 825-838. doi: 10.1113/jp273051

Augustine, R. A., Ladyman, S. R., Bouwer, G. T., Alyousif, Y., Sapsford, T. J., Scott, V., Kokay, I. C., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, C. H. (2017). Prolactin regulation of oxytocin neurone activity in pregnancy and lactation. Journal of Physiology, 595(11), 3591-3605. doi: 10.1113/jp273712

Royo, J. M., Brown, C. H., Leng, G., & MacGregor, D. J. (2016). Oxytocin neurones: Intrinsic mechanisms governing the regularity of spiking activity. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 28(4). doi: 10.1111/jne.12358

Kim, J. S., Brown, C. H., & Anderson, G. M. (2016). Anti-opioid effects of RFRP-3 on magnocellular neuron activity in morphine-naïve and morphine-treated female rats. Endocrinology, 157(10), 4003-4011. doi: 10.1210/en.2016-1374

Ladyman, S. R., Augustine, R. A., Scherf, E., Phillipps, H. R., Brown, C. H., & Grattan, D. R. (2016). Attenuated hypothalamic responses to α-melanocyte stimulating hormone during pregnancy in the rat. Journal of Physiology, 594(4), 1087-1101. doi: 10.1113/jp271605

Augustine, R. A., Bouwer, G. T., Seymour, A. J., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, C. H. (2016). Reproductive regulation of gene expression in the hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 28(4). doi: 10.1111/jne.12350

Choe, K. Y., Han, S. Y., Gaub, P., Shell, B., Voisin, D. L., Knapp, B. A., … Brown, C. H., … Bourque, C. W. (2015). High salt intake increases blood pressure via BDNF-mediated downregulation of KCC2 and impaired baroreflex inhibition of vasopressin neurons. Neuron, 85(3), 549-560. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.048

Moaddab, M., Hyland, B. I., & Brown, C. H. (2015). Oxytocin excites nucleus accumbens shell neurons in vivo. Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience, 68, 323-330. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2015.08.013

Han, S. Y., Bouwer, G. T., Seymour, A. J., Korpal, A. K., Schwenke, D. O., & Brown, C. H. (2015). Induction of hypertension blunts baroreflex inhibition of vasopressin neurons in the rat. European Journal of Neuroscience, 42(9), 2690-2698. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13062

Moaddab, M., Hyland, B. I., & Brown, C. H. (2015). Oxytocin enhances the expression of morphine-induced conditioned place preference in rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 53, 159-169. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.01.003

Han, S. Y., Gray, E., Hughes, G., Brown, C. H., & Schwenke, D. O. (2014). Increased sympathetic drive during the onset of hypertension in conscious Cyp1a1-Ren2 rats. Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology, 466(3), 459-466. doi: 10.1007/s00424-013-1338-5

Joe, N., Scott, V., & Brown, C. H. (2014). Glial regulation of extrasynaptic NMDA receptor-mediated excitation of supraoptic nucleus neurons during dehydration. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 26(1), 35-42. doi: 10.1111/jne.12121

Scott, V., & Brown, C. H. (2013). Beyond the GnRH axis: Kisspeptin regulation of the oxytocin system in pregnancy and lactation. Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology, 784, 201-218. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6199-9_10

Brown, C. H., Bains, J. S., Ludwig, M., & Stern, J. E. (2013). Physiological regulation of magnocellular neurosecretory cell activity: Integration of intrinsic, local and afferent mechanisms. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 25(8), 678-710. doi: 10.1111/jne.12051

Tasker, J. G., Oliet, S. H. R., Bains, J. S., Brown, C. H., & Stern, J. E. (2012). Glial regulation of neuronal function: From synapse to systems physiology. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 24(4), 566-576. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2011.02259.x

Ruan, M., Russell, J. A., & Brown, C. H. (2011). Acute morphine administration and withdrawal from chronic morphine increase afterdepolarization amplitude in rat supraoptic nucleus neurons in hypothalamic explants. Neuropharmacology, 61, 789-797. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.05.025

Scott, V., & Brown, C. H. (2011). Kisspeptin activation of supraoptic nucleus neurons in Vivo. Endocrinology, 152(10), 3862-3870. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-1181

Fleming, T. M., Scott, V., Naskar, K., Joe, N., Brown, C. H., & Stern, J. E. (2011). State-dependent changes in astrocyte regulation of extrasynaptic NMDA receptor signalling in neurosecretory neurons. Journal of Physiology, 589(16), 3929-3941. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.207340

Bull, P. M., Russell, J. A., Scott, V., & Brown, C. H. (2011). Apamin increases post-spike excitability of supraoptic nucleus neurons in anaesthetized morphine-naïve rats and morphine-dependent rats: Consequences for morphine withdrawal excitation. Experimental Brain Research, 212(4), 517-528. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2759-z

Scott, V., & Brown, C. H. (2010). State-dependent plasticity in vasopressin neurones: Dehydration-induced changes inactivity patterning. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 22(5), 343-354. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2010.01961.x

Ruan, M., & Brown, C. H. (2009). Feedback inhibition of action potential discharge by endogenous adenosine enhancement of the medium afterhyperpolarization. Journal of Physiology, 587(Pt 5), 1043-1056. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2008.167239

Scott, V., Bishop, V. R., Leng, G., & Brown, C. H. (2009). Dehydration-induced modulation of κ-opioid inhibition of vasopressin neurone activity. Journal of Physiology, 587(23), 5679-5689. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.180232

Brown, C. H., Brunton, P. J., & Russell, J. A. (2008). Rapid estradiol-17β modulation of opioid actions on the electrical and secretory activity of rat oxytocin neurons in vivo. Neurochemical Research, 33(4), 614-623.

Brown, C. H., Ruan, M., Scott, V., Tobin, V. A., & Ludwig, M. (2008). Multi-factorial somato-dendritic regulation of phasic spike discharge in vasopressin neurons. Progress in Brain Research, 170, 219-228.

Leng, G., Brown, C., Sabatier, N., & Scott, V. (2008). Population dynamics in vasopressin cells. Neuroendocrinology, 88(3), 160-172.

Brown, C. H., & Grattan, D. R. (2007). Does maternal oxytocin protect the fetal brain? Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 18(6), 225-226.

Brown, C. H., Scott, V., Ludwig, M., Leng, G., & Bourque, C. W. (2007). Somatodendritic dynorphin release: Orchestrating activity patterns of vasopressin neurons. Biochemical Society Transactions, 35(5), 1236-1242.

Bull, P. M., Brown, C. H., Russell, J. A., & Ludwig, M. (2006). Activity-dependent feedback modulation of spike patterning of supraoptic nucleus neurons by endogenous adenosine. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative & Comparative Physiology, 291, R83-R90. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00744.2005

Brown, C. H., Leng, G., Ludwig, M., & Bourque, C. W. (2006). Endogenous activation of supraoptic nucleus κ-opioid receptors terminates spontaneous phasic bursts in rat magnocellular neurosecretory cells. Journal of Neurophysiology, 95, 3235-3244.

Brown, C. H., & Bourque, C. W. (2006). Mechanisms of rhythmogenesis: Insights from hypothalamic vasopressin neurons. Trends in Neurosciences, 29(2), 108-115.

Brown, C. H., Stern, J. E., Jackson, K. L. M., Bull, P. M., Leng, G., & Russell, J. A. (2005). Morphine withdrawal increases intrinsic excitability of oxytocin neurons in morphine-dependent rats. European Journal of Neuroscience, 21, 501-512.

Brown, C., Ludwig, M., & Leng, G. (2004). Temporal dissociation of the feedback effects of dendritically co-released peptides on rhythmogenesis in vasopressin cells. Neuroscience, 124, 105-111.

Brown, C., & Russell, J. A. (2004). Cellular mechanisms underlying neuronal excitability during morphine withdrawal in physical dependence: Lessons from the magnocellular oxytocin system. Stress, 7(2), 97-107.

Engelmann, M., Bull, P. M., Brown, C., Landgraf, R., Horn, T. F. W., Singewald, N., … Wotjak, C. T. (2004). GABA selectively controls the secretory activity of oxytocin neurons in the rat supraoptic nucleus. European Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 601-608.

Johnstone, L. E., Leng, G., & Brown, C. (2004). Effects of neurotensin on the organization of activity in supraoptic nucleus cells in virgin and lactating rats. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 16, 605-611.

Sabatier, N., Brown, C., Ludwig, M., & Leng, G. (2004). Phasic spike patterning in rat supraoptic neurones in vivo and in vitro. Journal of Physiology, 558(1), 161-180.

Brown, C., & Bourque, C. W. (2004). Autocrine feedback inhibition of plateau potentials terminates phasic bursts in magnocellular neurosecretory cells of the rat supraoptic nucleus. Journal of Physiology, 557(3), 949-960.

Brown, C. (2004). Rhythmogenesis in vasopressin cells. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 16, 727-739.

Brown, C., Bull, P. M., & Bourque, C. W. (2004). Phasic bursts in rat magnocellular neurosecretory cells are not intrinsically regenerative in vivo. European Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 2977-2983.

Bull, P. M., Ludwig, M., Blackburn-Munro, G. J., Delgado-Cohen, H., Brown, C., & Russell, J. A. (2003). The role of nitric oxide in morphine dependence and withdrawal excitation of rat oxytocin neurons. European Journal of Neuroscience, 18, 2545-2551.

Doi, N., Brown, C., Delgado Cohen, H., Leng, G., & Russell, J. A. (2001). Effects of the endogenous opioid peptide, endomorphin 1, on supraoptic nucleus oxytocin and vasopressin neurones in vivo and in vitro. British Journal of Pharmacology, 132, 1136-1144.

Leng, G., Brown, C., & et al (2001). Responses of magnocellular neurons to osmotic stimulation involves coactivation of excitatory and inhibitory input: An experimental and theoretical analysis. Journal of Neuroscience, 21(17), 6967-6977.

Blackburn-Munro, G., Brown, C., Neumann, I. D., Landgraf, R., & Russell, J. A. (2000). Verapamil prevents withdrawal excitation of oxytocin neurones in morphine-dependent rats. Neuropharmacology, 39, 1596-1607.

Russell, J. A., Brown, C., & Leng, G. (2000). Opioid modulation of magnocellular neurosecretory cell activity. Neuroscience Research, 36, 97-120.

Brown, C., & Leng, G. (2000). In vivo modulation of post-spike excitability in vasopressin cells by κ-opioid receptor activation. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 12, 711-714.

Brown, C., Johnstone, L. E., Murphy, N. P., Leng, G., & Russell, J. A. (2000). Local injection of pertussis toxin attenuates morphine withdrawal excitation of rat supraoptic nucleus neurones. Brain Research Bulletin, 52(2), 115-121.

Johnstone, L. E., Brown, C., & et al (2000). Local morphine withdrawal increases c-fos gene, Fos protein, and oxytocin gene expression in hypothalamic magnocellular neurosecretory cells. Journal of Neuroscience, 20(3), 1272-1280.

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Journal - Research Other

Augustine, R. A., Seymour, A. J., Campbell, R. E., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, C. H. (2018). Integrative neurohumoral regulation of oxytocin neurone activity in pregnancy and lactation. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 30(8), e12569. doi: 10.1111/jne.12569

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