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Rosie Brown Laboratory

Research interests

I am interested in how the changing hormones of pregnancy and lactation act on neural circuitry in the maternal brain to influence behaviour. In particular, I focus on maternal behaviour, a complex set of behaviours displayed by a mother that promote the survival and wellbeing of her offspring. Our work aims to understand how hormones normally act to direct a mother’s behaviour and how these processes may become disrupted.
At the Centre for Neuroendocrinology, I use transgenic mouse models to address the impact of specific neuroendocrine disruptions on maternal behaviour using behavioural assays. We investigate hormonal actions on neural circuitry underlying parental behaviour using a range of molecular, immunohistochemical and imaging approaches.
I am also interested in how changes in the ability of hormones to access the brain in different physiological or pathological states might underlie changes in hormone function.

Clinical conditions

  • Postpartum depression
  • Postpartum anxiety
  • Maternal obesity

Rosie Brown Laboratory staff & students

Mary Hawkes_webMary Hawkes, Assistant Research Fellow
Hormonal modulation of the medial preoptic area in the maternal brain
Email mary.hawkes@otago.ac.nz

Zin Khant Aung_webZin Khant-Aung, Assistant Research Fellow
Hormonal modulation of maternal aggression (protective behaviour)
Email zin.khantaung@otago.ac.nz

Judith Swart_webJudith Swart, PhD student
Involvement of the reward circuitry in prolactin’s regulation of maternal behaviour
Email swaju179@student.otago.ac.nz

Renee Masih, Honours student


Visit Our people for an alphabetical list of all Centre for Neuroendocrinology staff.

Publications

Brown, R. S. E., Aoki, M., Ladyman, S. R., Phillipps, H. R., Wyatt, A., Boehm, U., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). Prolactin action in the medial preoptic area is necessary for postpartum maternal nursing behavior. PNAS, 114(40), 10779-10784. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1708025114

Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Phillipps, H. R., Yip, S. H., Gustafson, P., Wyatt, A., Larsen, C. M., Knowles, P., Ladyman, S. R., LeTissier, P., & Grattan, D. R. (2016). Conditional deletion of the prolactin receptor reveals functional subpopulations of dopamine neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(35), 9173-9185. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.1471-16.2016

Brown, R. S. E., Wyatt, A. K., Herbison, R. E., Knowles, P. J., Ladyman, S. R., Binart, N., … Grattan, D. R. (2016). Prolactin transport into mouse brain is independent of prolactin receptor. FASEB Journal, 30(2), 1002-1010. doi: 10.1096/fj.15-276519

Gustafson, P., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2019). Suppression of leptin transport into the brain contributes to leptin resistance during pregnancy in the mouse. Endocrinology, 160(4), 880-890. doi: 10.1210/en.2018-01065

Phillipps, H. R., Rand, C. J., Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Stanton, J.-A., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Prolactin regulation of insulin-like growth factor 2 gene expression in the adult mouse choroid plexus. FASEB Journal, 33, 6115-6128. doi: 10.1096/fj.201802262R

Chapter in Book - Research

Smiley, K. O., Ladyman, S. R., Gustafson, P., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2019). Neuroendocrinology and adaptive physiology of maternal care. In Current topics in behavioral neurosciences. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/7854_2019_122

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Journal - Research Article

Ladyman, S. R., Hackwell, E. C. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2020). The role of prolactin in co-ordinating fertility and metabolic adaptations during reproduction. Neuropharmacology, 167, 107911. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.107911

Brown, R. S. E., Khant Aung, Z., Phillipps, H. R., Barad, Z., Lein, H.-J., Boehm, U., Szawka, R. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Acute suppression of LH secretion by prolactin in female mice is mediated by kisspeptin neurons in the arcuate nucleus. Endocrinology, 160(5), 1323-1332. doi: 10.1210/en.2019-00038

Gustafson, P., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2019). Suppression of leptin transport into the brain contributes to leptin resistance during pregnancy in the mouse. Endocrinology, 160(4), 880-890. doi: 10.1210/en.2018-01065

Phillipps, H. R., Rand, C. J., Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Stanton, J.-A., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Prolactin regulation of insulin-like growth factor 2 gene expression in the adult mouse choroid plexus. FASEB Journal, 33, 6115-6128. doi: 10.1096/fj.201802262R

Ladyman, S. R., MacLeod, M. A., Khant Aung, Z., Knowles, P., Phillipps, H. R., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). Prolactin receptors in Rip-cre cells, but not in AgRP neurons, are involved in energy homeostasis. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 29(10), e12474. doi: 10.1111/jne.12474

Brown, R. S. E., Aoki, M., Ladyman, S. R., Phillipps, H. R., Wyatt, A., Boehm, U., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). Prolactin action in the medial preoptic area is necessary for postpartum maternal nursing behavior. PNAS, 114(40), 10779-10784. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1708025114

Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Phillipps, H. R., Yip, S. H., Gustafson, P., Wyatt, A., Larsen, C. M., Knowles, P., Ladyman, S. R., LeTissier, P., & Grattan, D. R. (2016). Conditional deletion of the prolactin receptor reveals functional subpopulations of dopamine neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(35), 9173-9185. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.1471-16.2016

Brown, R. S. E., Wyatt, A. K., Herbison, R. E., Knowles, P. J., Ladyman, S. R., Binart, N., … Grattan, D. R. (2016). Prolactin transport into mouse brain is independent of prolactin receptor. FASEB Journal, 30(2), 1002-1010. doi: 10.1096/fj.15-276519

Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2015). Effects of prolactin and lactation on A15 dopamine neurons in the rostral preoptic area of female mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 27(9), 708-717. doi: 10.1111/jne.12297

Liu, X., Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2014). Lactational anovulation in mice results from a selective loss of kisspeptin input to GnRH neurons. Endocrinology, 155(1), 193-203. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1621

Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2014). Prolactin regulation of kisspeptin neurones in the mouse brain and its role in the lactation-induced suppression of kisspeptin expression. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 26(12), 898-908. doi: 10.1111/jne.12223

Brown, R. S. E., Piet, R., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2012). Differential actions of prolactin on electrical activity and intracellular signal transduction in hypothalamic neurons. Endocrinology, 153(5), 2375-2384. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-2005

Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2011). Differential changes in responses of hypothalamic and brainstem neuronal populations to prolactin during lactation in the mouse. Biology of Reproduction, 84(4), 826-836. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.110.089185

Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2010). Distribution of prolactin-responsive neurons in the mouse forebrain. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 518(1), 92-102. doi: 10.1002/cne.22208

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Smiley, K. O., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Identifying a novel role for prolactin in the transition to paternal care. Proceedings of the Hypothalamic Neuroscience and Neuroendocrinology Australasia (HNNA) Meeting. Retrieved from https://www.hnna.co.nz/downloads

Barad, Z., Grattan, D., & Brown, R. (2019). Prolactin acts on glutamatergic neurons in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus to modulate maternal aggression. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 3(Suppl. 1), OR06-3. doi: 10.1210/js.2019-OR06-3

Smiley, K. O., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2018). Identifying prolactin-responsive neurons important for the transition to paternal care. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 48th Annual Meeting. 108.08. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org

Gustafson, P., Ladyman, S. R., Grattan, D., & Brown, R. S. E. (2018). Changing dynamics of prolactin and leptin transport into the brain during pregnancy and with aging. Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN). (pp. 124). Retrieved from http://www.icn2018.org/

Brown, R. S. E. (2018). Prolactin signaling in the medial preoptic area is critical for maternal behavior. Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN). (pp. 64). Retrieved from http://www.icn2018.org/

Smiley, K. O., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2018). Identifying prolactin-responsive neurons important for the transition to paternal care. Proceedings of the Society for Social Neuroscience 9th Annual Meeting. (pp. 33). Retrieved from https://www.s4sn.org

Phillipps, H. R., Rand, C., Brown, R. S. E., Stanton, J.-A., & Grattan, D. (2018). Insulin-like growth factor 2, a prolactin-responsive gene in the adult mouse choroid plexus. Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN). (pp. 125). Retrieved from http://www.icn2018.org/

Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Phillipps, H. R., Gustafson, P. E., Khant Aung, Z., Ladyman, S. R., & Grattan, D. R. (2016). Conditional deletion of prolactin receptor gene reveals remarkable redundancy in feedback regulation of tuberoinfundibular dopamine neurons by prolactin. Endocrine Reviews, 37(2, Suppl.), FRI-504. Retrieved from http://press.endocrine.org/series/endo-meetings

Grattan, D. R., Kokay, I. C., Brown, R. S. E., Larsen, C. M., Wyatt, A., & Le Tissier, P. R. (2014). Conditional deletion of the prolactin receptor to identify brain-specific actions of prolactin. Endocrine Reviews, 35(3, Suppl.), OR35-4. Retrieved from http://press.endocrine.org/series/endo-meetings

Brown, R. S. E., Larsen, C. M., Cashen, S., Wyatt, A., Kokay, I. C., Knowles, P., … Grattan, D. R. (2014). Prolactin-sensitive GABAergic neurons contribute to the normal postpartum expression of maternal behaviour. Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN) including the 18th Annual Meeting of the Society for Behavioural Neuroendocrinology. 277. Retrieved from http://icn-2014.p.asnevents.com.au

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