Stuart Brown

Doctor of Philosophy, (Biochemistry)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
A search for biomarkers of ovine pre-partum vaginal prolapse

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Prolapse (known by farmers as bearings) is a condition in ewes that can often be fatal but the causes of it are unknown. Mr Brown investigated whether there are physiological causes of this condition, rather than it simply being a result of overeating. He developed an improved method of analysing large numbers of individual proteins in sheep blood samples. This was published in a leading international journal (Electrophoresis) where it appeared on the cover. Mr Brown then used the improved method to analyse the level of individual proteins in blood samples from ewes that were about to prolapse. Several proteins were found to have different levels in preprolapse samples compared to nonprolapsing ewes, along with increased cortisol (a stress hormone). Analysis indicated that stress and inflammation developed in the ewes that were about to prolapse. One explanation offered by Mr Brown is that stress caused the ewes to have increased intra-abdominal pressure, leading to prolapse along with an inflammatory reaction.

Associate Professor Gill Norris
Professor Kevin Stafford

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