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William Crowley

William Crowley

Research Faculty & Director, PORC


B.S. 1970, University of Connecticut

M.S. 1972, Villanova University

Ph.D. 1976, Rutgers University


Research Interests

My laboratory investigates the neuroendocrine and neurochemical factors that regulate the secretion of anterior and posterior pituitary hormones. In particular, we have focused on identifying and characterizing the actions of brain neurotransmitters and peptides that participate in the regulation of the secretion of luteinizing hormone, the anterior pituitary hormone responsible for ovulation, and prolactin, the anterior pituitary hormone that controls milk secretion in lactation. Multidisciplinary approaches are used in these investigations, including in vivo microdialysis to study release of brain neurotransmitters and peptides in discrete brain areas, biochemical measurements of neurotransmitters and peptides, measurements of expression of specific messenger RNAs involved in neurotransmitter and peptide transmission, neurotransmitter and peptide receptor binding, and various approaches towards studying signal transduction mechanisms. Studies are done in whole animal and in isolated brain tissues and cell culture. Current studies are focused on the actions of neuropeptide tyrosine (neuropeptide Y), which plays a central role in controlling the release of these hormones and in regulating food intake during lactation.

A second line of investigations employs all of these methods to identify and study actions of the neurotransmitter and peptide systems that control the secretion of the neurohypophyseal hormones, oxytocin, which is important for milk release during lactation, and vasopressin, which participates in control of body fluid homeostasis. This work is now focussing on the actions of ovarian hormones on brain transmiters, particularly norepienphrine, glutamate and y-aminobutyric acid, and peptides in late pregnancy that increase the activity of the oxytocin neurosecretory system in preparation for birth and lactation.


    Bealer, S.L., Armstrong, W.E., and Crowley, W.R. Oxytocin release in magnocellualr nuclei: Neurochemical mediators and functional significance during gestation. American Journal of Physiology, Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 299: R452-R458, 2010.

    Crowley, W. R. Neuroendocrine regulation of lactation and milk production. Comprehensive Physiology 5: 255-291, 2015.

    Crowley, W.R., Ramoz, G., Torto, R., and Kalra, S.P.  Role of leptin in orexigenic neuropeptide expression during lactation in rats.  Journal of Neuroendocrinology 16: 637-644, 2004. 

    Everson, C.A.. and Crowley, W. R.  Reductions in circulating anabolic hormones induced by sustained sleep deprivation in rats.  American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism 286: E1060-E1070, 2004.

    Lipschitz, D.L., Crowley, W.R., and Bealer, S.L.  Differential sensitivity of intranuclear and systemic oxytocin release to central noradrenergic receptor stimulation during mid- and late gestation in rats.  American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism 287: E523-E528, 2004. 

    Crowley, W.R. , Ramoz, G., Keefe. K.A., Torto, R., Kalra, S.P., and Hanson, G.R.  Differential effects of methamphetamine on expression of neuropeptide Y mRNA in hypothalamus and on serum leptin and ghrelin concentrations in ad libitum-fed and schedule-fed rats.  Neuroscience 132: 167-173, 2005. 

    Lipschitz, D.L., Crowley, W.R., Armstrong, W.E., and Bealer, S.L.  Neurochemical bases of plasticity in the magnocellular oxytocin system during gestation.  Experimental Neurology 196: 210-223, 2005.

    Bealer, S.L., Lipschitz, D.l., Ramoz, G., and Crowley, W.R.  Oxytocin receptor binding in magnocellular nuclei during gestation in rats.  American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 291: R53-R58, 2006

    Crowley, W.R., Ramoz, G., Torto, R., Keefe, K.A., Wang, J.J., and Kalra, S.P.  Neuroendocrine actions and regulation of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y during lactation.  Peptides 28: 447-452, 2007.

    Teruyama, R., Lipschitz, D.L., Wang, L., Ramoz, G.R., Crowley, W.R., Bealer, S.L., and Armstrong, W.E. Central blockade of oxytocin receptors during mid-late gestation reduces amplitude of slow afterhyperpolarization in supraoptic oxytocin neurons. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 295: E1167-E1171, 2008.