Leslie Morrow

Leslie MorrowDr. Leslie Morrow’s work is focused on developing an understanding of the role of GABAA receptors and neuroactive steroids in normal brain function and neuropsychiatric disease, particularly alcohol use disorders.  Her group has made landmark discoveries on the role of GABAA receptors and neuroactive steroids in ethanol action, ethanol sensitivity, tolerance and dependence. Together they have contributed evidence for GABAergic neurosteroid regulation of ethanol drinking and self-administration in rats. They  have also contributed to understanding the association of neurosteroid deficits with history of major depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorders and schizophrenia. The group developed the only GCMS assay that validated simultaneous measurement of all eight GABAergic neurosteroids for use in human and rat plasma. Additionally, they established evidence for local production of allopregnanolone across brain using immunohistochemistry and co-localization with specific neuron markers. All of this work provides a strong rationale for neuroactive steroid targeted therapeutics in human disease. Over her career, Dr. Morrow has trained 1 Psychiatry fellow, 14 post-docs, 10 graduate students and 18 post-baccalaureate students with successful careers. She is enthusiastic about science, mentoring and opportunities in the field of alcoholism research.

Selected publications:

  1. COOK J.B., WERNER, D.F., Maldonado-Devincci, A.M., LEONARD, M.N., FISHER, K.R., O’BUCKLEY T.K., PORCU, P. MCCOWN, T.J., BESHEER, J., HODGE, C.W., MORROW A.L.  Overexpression of the steroidogenic enzyme cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage in the ventral tegmental area increases 3α,5α-THP and reduces long-term operant ethanol self-administration. Journal of Neuroscience 34: 5824-5834 (2014). PMCID: PMC3996211
  2. Maldonado-Devincci, A.M., COOK, J.B., O’BUCKLEY T.K., MORROW, D.H., McKinley, R.E., LOPEZ, M.F., BECKER, H.C. and Morrow, A.L. Chronic intermittent ethanol exposure and withdrawal alters (3α,5α)-3-hydroxy-pregnan-20-one immunostaining in cortical and limbic brain regions of C57BL/6J mice. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 38(10):2561-2571 (2014) PMCID: PMC4211975
  3. COOK J.B., NELLI, S. M., NEIGHBORS, M.R., MORROW, D.H., O’BUCKLEY T.K., Maldonado-Devincci, A.M., MORROW A.L.  Ethanol alters local cellular levels of (3a,5a)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one (3a,5a-THP) independent of the adrenals in subcortical brain regions.  Neuropsychopharmacology 39:1878-87 (2014).  PMCID: PMC4059907
  4. COOK J.B., DUMITRU, A.M., O’BUCKLEY T.K., MORROW A.L.  Ethanol administration produces divergent changes in GABAergic neuroactive steroid immunohistochemistry in the rat brain. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (2014) 38: 90-99. PMCID: PMC4196317
  5. Maldonado-Devincci, A.M., BeatTie, M.C., MORROW, D.H., McKinley, R.E., COOK J.B., O’BUCKLEY T.K., and Morrow, A.L. Acute forced swim stress reduces circulating and selective limbic brain levels of 3α-hydroxy-5α-pregnan-20-one (3α,5α-THP) in C57BL/6J male mice. Psychopharmacology 231:3281-92 (2014) PMCID:  PMC4335654