Matching Items (14)

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Associative Recognition of Odor Stimuli Variance and a Proposal to Test This in Odor Experience Restricted Honey Bees

Description

Recent data suggests that olfactory input is important for antennal lobe development in honey bees. Chronic association of a single odor to food resources during crucial stages of development results

Recent data suggests that olfactory input is important for antennal lobe development in honey bees. Chronic association of a single odor to food resources during crucial stages of development results in delayed antennal lobe development for mature foraging bees. The antennal lobes of these bees instead closely resemble an immature network observed in young, newly emerged bees. Using an odor stimuli variance assay, learning and memory tests can be used to explore how well honey bees discriminate single odors within complex odor mixtures. Here we are validating two different odor mixtures, a Brassica rapa floral blend and a second replicate mixture composed of common molecularly dissimilar odors. Odors in each mixture are either held constant or varied in concentration over 16 conditioning trials. Subsequent memory tests are performed two hours later to observe the ability of bees to distinguish and recognize specific odor components in each mixture. So far in our assay we find high rates of generalization for both odor mixtures. In general, more bees responded to all odors in the replicate treatment group over the Brassica treatment group. Additionally, bees in the Brassica treatment group did not respond to the target odor. More data is being collected to validate this assay. In future studies, I propose to apply this behavioral assay to bees with an altered olfactory developmental in order to see the functional impacts of this chronic odor association treatment.

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  • 2017-05

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The Role of the Biogenic Amine Tyramine in Latent Inhibition Learning in the Honey Bee, Apis mellifera

Description

Animals must learn to ignore stimuli that are irrelevant to survival, a process referred to as latent inhibition. The Amtyr1 gene has been shown through quantitative trait loci mapping to

Animals must learn to ignore stimuli that are irrelevant to survival, a process referred to as latent inhibition. The Amtyr1 gene has been shown through quantitative trait loci mapping to be linked to strong latent inhibition in honey bees. Here we implicate this G-protein coupled receptor for the biogenic amine tyramine as an important factor underlying this form of learning in honey bees. We show that dsRNA targeted to disrupt the tyramine receptors, specifically affects latent inhibition but not excitatory associative conditioning. Our results therefore identify a distinct reinforcement pathway for latent inhibition in insects.

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  • 2016-12

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The Trajectory of Thought: Lévy Flight Patterns and Dynamical Systems in Human Memory Foraging

Description

Recent work in free-recall tasks suggest that human memory foraging may follow a Lévy flight distribution – a random walk procedure that is common in other activities of cognitive agents,

Recent work in free-recall tasks suggest that human memory foraging may follow a Lévy flight distribution – a random walk procedure that is common in other activities of cognitive agents, such as animal and human food foraging. This study attempts to draw parallels between memory search and physical search, with the assumption that humans follow similar search patterns in both. To date, research merely equates the two processes (foraging in memory and the physical world) based on a similarity in statistical structure. This study starts with demonstrating a relationship between physical distance traveled and IRIs by having participants list countries. An IRI, inter-retrieval interval, is the time interval between items recalled. The next experiment uses multidimensional scaling (MDS) to derive a Euclidean perceptual space from similarity ratings of freely-recalled items and then maps the trajectory of human thought through this perceptual space. This trajectory can offer a much more compelling comparison to physical foraging behavior. Finally, a possible correlate of Lévy flight foraging is explored called critical slowing down. Statistically significant evidence was found in all three experiments. The discussion connects all three experiments and what their results mean for human memory foraging.

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  • 2016-12

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Dysregulated ERK/MAPK Signaling in RASopathy Animal Model Systems Leads to a Decrease in mTOR Expression and Activation of Translational Machinery

Description

The RAS/MAPK (RAS/Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase) pathway is a highly conserved, canonical signaling cascade that is highly involved in cellular growth and proliferation as well as cell migration. As such,

The RAS/MAPK (RAS/Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase) pathway is a highly conserved, canonical signaling cascade that is highly involved in cellular growth and proliferation as well as cell migration. As such, it plays an important role in development, specifically in development of the nervous system. Activation of ERK is indispensable for the differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells (ESC) into neuronal precursors (Li z et al, 2006). ERK signaling has also shown to mediate Schwann cell myelination of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) as well as oligodendrocyte proliferation (Newbern et al, 2011). The class of developmental disorders that result in the dysregulation of RAS signaling are known as RASopathies. The molecular and cell-specific consequences of these various pathway mutations remain to be elucidated. While there is evidence for altered DNA transcription in RASopathies, there is little work examining the effects of the RASopathy-linked mutations on protein translation and post-translational modifications in vivo. RASopathies have phenotypic and molecular similarities to other disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC) that show evidence of aberrant protein synthesis and affect related pathways. There are also well-defined downstream RAS pathway elements involved in translation. Additionally, aberrant corticospinal axon outgrowth has been observed in disease models of RASopathies (Xing et al, 2016). For these reasons, this present study examines a subset of proteins involved in translation and translational regulation in the context of RASopathy disease states. Results indicate that in both of the tested RASopathy model systems, there is altered mTOR expression. Additionally the loss of function model showed a decrease in rps6 activation. This data supports a role for the selective dysregulation of translational control elements in RASopathy models. This data also indicates that the primary candidate mechanism for control of altered translation in these modes is through the altered expression of mTOR.

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  • 2017-05

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Peg Forest Rehabilitation Mitigates the Onset of Injury-Induced Cognitive Disability in Juvenile Rats

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—sudden impact or acceleration trauma to the head—is a major cause of death and disability worldwide and is particularly amplified in pediatric cases. TBI is the leading

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—sudden impact or acceleration trauma to the head—is a major cause of death and disability worldwide and is particularly amplified in pediatric cases. TBI is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children and adolescents. Adolescence is a critical time where the brain undergoes cognitive development and brain injury-induced disruptions to these processes can lead to life-long debilitating morbidities. The aim of this study was to determine if exercising spatial and contextual memory circuits using a novel rehabilitation strategy called Peg Forest Rehabilitation (PFR) could mitigate the onset of injury-induced cognitive deficits in juvenile rats subjected to diffuse TBI. The PFR aims to synthesize neuroplasticity-based enrichment to improve cognitive outcomes after TBI. We hypothesized that PFR treatment would mitigate the onset of brain injury-induced cognitive deficits and reduce neuroinflammation. Juvenile male Sprague-Dawley rats (post-natal day 35) were subjected to diffuse traumatic brain injury via midline fluid percussion injury or a control surgery. One-week post-injury, rats were exposed to PFR or cage control exploration (15 min/day). PFR allowed free navigation through random configuration of the peg-filled arena for 10 days over 2 weeks. Control rats remained in home cages in the center of the arena with the peg-board removed for 15 min/day/10 days. One-week post-rehabilitation (one-month post-injury), cognitive performance was assessed for short-term (novel object recognition; NOR), long-term (novel location recognition; NLR), and working (temporal order recognition; TOR) memory performance, calculated as a discrimination index between novel and familiar objects. Tissue was collected for immunohistochemistry and stained for ionized calcium binding proteins (Iba-1) to visualize microglia morphology, and somatostatin. PFR attenuated TBI-induced deficits on the NOR task, where the TBI-PFR treatment group spent significantly more time with the novel object compared with the familiar (*p=0.0046). Regardless of rehabilitation, brain-injured rats had hyper-ramified microglia in the hypothalamus indicated by longer branch lengths and more endpoints per cell compared with uninjured shams. Analysis of somatostatin data is ongoing. In this study, passive, intermittent PFR that involved dynamic, novel spatial navigation, prevented TBI-induced cognitive impairment in adolescent rats. Spatial navigation training may have clinical efficacy and should be further investigated.

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  • 2020-05

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Chronic Variable Stress Effects on Anxiety and Expression of Organic Cation Transporter 3

Description

Monoamine neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) are powerful modulators of mood and cognitive function in health and disease. We have been investigating the modulation of monoamine clearance in select

Monoamine neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) are powerful modulators of mood and cognitive function in health and disease. We have been investigating the modulation of monoamine clearance in select brain regions via organic cation transporters (OCTs), a family of nonselective monoamine transporters. OCTs are thought to complement the actions of selective monoamine transporters in the brain by helping to clear monoamines from the extracellular space; thus, assisting to terminate the monoamine signal. Of particular interest, stress hormones (corticosterone; CORT) inhibit OCT3-mediated transport of monoamine, to putatively lead to prolonged monoamine signaling. It has been demonstrated that stress levels of CORT block OCT3 transport in the rat hypothalamus, an effect that likely underlies the rapid, stress-induced increase in local monoamines. We examined the effect of chronic variable stress (CVS) on the development of mood disorders and OCT3 expression in limbic and hypothalamic regions of the rat brain. Animals subjected to CVS (14-days with random stressor exposure two times/day) showed reduced body weight gain, indicating that CVS was perceived as stressful. However, behavioral tests of anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in rats showed no group differences. Although there were no behavioral effects of stress, molecular analysis revealed that there were stress-related changes in OCT3 protein expression. In situ hybridization data confirmed that OCT3 mRNA is expressed in the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus. Analysis of Western blot data by two-way ANOVA revealed a significant treatment effect on OCT3 protein levels, with a significant decrease in OCT3 protein in the amygdala and hippocampus in CVS rats, compared to controls. These data suggest an important role for CORT sensitive OCT3 in the reduction of monoamine clearance during stress.

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  • 2016-05

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The neurobiology of sentence comprehension: an fMRI study of late American Sign Language acquisition

Description

Language acquisition is a phenomenon we all experience, and though it is well studied many questions remain regarding the neural bases of language. Whether a hearing speaker or Deaf signer,

Language acquisition is a phenomenon we all experience, and though it is well studied many questions remain regarding the neural bases of language. Whether a hearing speaker or Deaf signer, spoken and signed language acquisition (with eventual proficiency) develop similarly and share common neural networks. While signed language and spoken language engage completely different sensory modalities (visual-manual versus the more common auditory-oromotor) both languages share grammatical structures and contain syntactic intricacies innate to all languages. Thus, studies of multi-modal bilingualism (e.g. a native English speaker learning American Sign Language) can lead to a better understanding of the neurobiology of second language acquisition, and of language more broadly. For example, can the well-developed visual-spatial processing networks in English speakers support grammatical processing in sign language, as it relies heavily on location and movement? The present study furthers the understanding of the neural correlates of second language acquisition by studying late L2 normal hearing learners of American Sign Language (ASL). Twenty English speaking ASU students enrolled in advanced American Sign Language coursework participated in our functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study. The aim was to identify the brain networks engaged in syntactic processing of ASL sentences in late L2 ASL learners. While many studies have addressed the neurobiology of acquiring a second spoken language, no previous study to our knowledge has examined the brain networks supporting syntactic processing in bimodal bilinguals. We examined the brain networks engaged while perceiving ASL sentences compared to ASL word lists, as well as written English sentences and word lists. We hypothesized that our findings in late bimodal bilinguals would largely coincide with the unimodal bilingual literature, but with a few notable differences including additional attention networks being engaged by ASL processing. Our results suggest that there is a high degree of overlap in sentence processing networks for ASL and English. There also are important differences in regards to the recruitment of speech comprehension, visual-spatial and domain-general brain networks. Our findings suggest that well-known sentence comprehension and syntactic processing regions for spoken languages are flexible and modality-independent.

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  • 2016-05

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Thinking Brains: An Introduction to Neuroscientific Thought

Description

An introduction to neuroscientific thought aimed at an audience that is not educated in biology. Meant to be readable and easily understood by anyone with a high school education. The

An introduction to neuroscientific thought aimed at an audience that is not educated in biology. Meant to be readable and easily understood by anyone with a high school education. The first section is completed in its entirety, with outlines for the proposed final sections to be completed over the next few years.

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  • 2014-05

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Fos Expression in Response to Nicotine and Social Reward in Adolescent Male Rats

Description

Previous findings from our lab have demonstrated that nicotine and social reward have synergistic effects when experienced together versus when experienced separately. The purpose of this experiment is to understand

Previous findings from our lab have demonstrated that nicotine and social reward have synergistic effects when experienced together versus when experienced separately. The purpose of this experiment is to understand the neural mechanisms underlying this synergistic effect by quantifying Fos protein, a marker for neural activation, in various brain regions. We utilized the conditioning place preference (CPP) model to assess reward. Four groups of adolescent male rats (n=120) were given either nicotine (Nic) (0.1 mg/kg/mL) or saline (Sal) and were placed in the CPP apparatus either with a social partner (Soc) or alone (Iso). Thus, groups were: 1.)Sal+Iso, 2).Sal+Soc, 3).Nic+Iso, 4).Nic+Soc. Brains of some the rats (n=40) were collected for Fos staining 90 minutes after the last conditioning session to obtain Fos data in response to direct exposure to the stimuli. The following regions were analyzed for Fos expression: central amygdala (CeA), medial amygdala (MeA), basolateral amygdala (BLA), nucleus accumbens core (NAcCore), and nucleus accumbens shell (NAcShell). Place preference changes occurred in socially-conditioned groups reflecting social reward and in nicotine-conditioned groups reflecting nicotine reward. As expected, the Sal+Iso control group failed to display a preference change. Fos data revealed a significant increase in Fos expression in the CeA, MeA, NAcCore and NAcShell for socially-conditioned animals and a significant decrease in the NAcCore for nicotine-conditioned groups. Experiencing both social and nicotine rewards together appeared to produce greater activation in the BLA. However, there was an increase in Fos expression in the negative control group relative to Nic+Iso group. The results of CPP suggest that social, nicotine and their combination are rewarding. The combination of the nicotine and social reward could have been more rewarding than social and nicotine separately, but the test was not sensitive to reward magnitude. The increase in Fos expression in the negative control group in the BLA could be due to isolation stress. Overall, these results suggest that these brain regions had greater activation to social reward.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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A Research Review of The Neurological Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Description

Neurological manifestations may be more prominent and have a larger role in ankylosing spondylitis than previously thought. Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rheumatic disease primarily identified by its autoinflammatory characteristics and

Neurological manifestations may be more prominent and have a larger role in ankylosing spondylitis than previously thought. Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rheumatic disease primarily identified by its autoinflammatory characteristics and is highly associated with the HLA-B27 gene. While it’s cause is not yet fully understood and it’s symptoms widely vary, neurological impairment is not uncommon. The neurological manifestations of Ankylosing Spondylitis include but are not limited to pain sensitization, altered brain phenotype, and disrupted cardiac conduction. Central and peripheral nervous system involvement may be more significant than previously thought and have the potential to cause demyelinating diseases, spinal cord, and nerve root injuries. Altered connectivity throughout various regions within the brain further exemplify the need for a better understanding of the disease and better treatment development. Higher instances of depression and dementia were also reported and coincide with not only a less active lifestyle, but altered brain activity. Studies on cardiac conduction and arrhythmias in AS patients revealed parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system dysregulation. These studies have explored the possibility of new targets for treatment involving cardiac mechanisms. Treatments for diseases of a similar suspected pathology, new prospective targets for therapy, and a more thorough understanding of current treatments for the disease may be the key in providing more substantial relief. By further investigation in the role of the nervous system in Ankylosing Spondylitis, the disease may become more manageable for patients and greatly increase quality of life in the future.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05