Matching Items (21)

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Modeling acquisition of nicotine self-administration in rats

Description

Nicotine is thought to underlie the reinforcing and dependence-producing effects of tobacco-containing products. Nicotine supports self-administration in rodents, although measures of its reinforcing effects are often confounded by procedures that are used to facilitate acquisition, such as food restriction, prior

Nicotine is thought to underlie the reinforcing and dependence-producing effects of tobacco-containing products. Nicotine supports self-administration in rodents, although measures of its reinforcing effects are often confounded by procedures that are used to facilitate acquisition, such as food restriction, prior reinforcement training, or response-contingent co-delivery of a naturally reinforcing light. This study examined whether rats acquire nicotine self-administration in the absence of these facilitators. A new mathematical modeling procedure was used to define the criterion for acquisition and to determine dose-dependent differences in rate and asymptote levels of intake. Rats were trained across 20 daily 2-h sessions occurring 6 days/week in chambers equipped with active and inactive levers. Each active lever press resulted in nicotine reinforcement (0, 0.015, 0.03, 0.06 mg/kg, IV) and retraction of both levers for a 20-s time out, whereas inactive lever presses had no consequences. Acquisition was defined by the best fit of a logistic function (i.e., S-shaped) versus a constant function (i.e., flat line) for reinforcers obtained across sessions using a corrected Akaike information criterion (AICc) as a model selection tool. The results showed an inverted-U shaped function for dose in relation to the percentage of animals that acquired nicotine self-administration, with 46% acquiring at 0.015 mg/kg, 73% at 0.03 mg/kg, and 58% at 0.06 mg/kg. All saline rats failed to acquire as expected. For rats that acquired nicotine self-administration, multiple model comparisons demonstrated that the asymptote (highest number of reinforcers/session) and half learning point (h; session during which half the assymptote had been achieved) were justified as free parameters of the reinforcers/session function, indicating that these parameters vary with nicotine dose. Asymptote exhibited an inverted U-shaped function across doses and half learning point exhibited a negative relationship to dose (i.e., the higher the dose the fewer sessions to reach h). These findings suggest that some rats acquire nicotine self-administration without using procedures that confound measures of acquisition rate. Furthermore, the modeling approach provides a new way of defining acquisition of drug self-administration that takes advantage of using all data generated from individual subjects and is less arbitrary than some criteria that are currently used.

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Date Created
2011

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Optimization of menopausal hormone therapies for cognitive and brain aging using a rat model

Description

Each year, millions of aging women will experience menopause, a transition from reproductive capability to reproductive senescence. In women, this transition is characterized by depleted ovarian follicles, declines in levels of sex hormones, and a dysregulation of gonadotrophin feedback loops.

Each year, millions of aging women will experience menopause, a transition from reproductive capability to reproductive senescence. In women, this transition is characterized by depleted ovarian follicles, declines in levels of sex hormones, and a dysregulation of gonadotrophin feedback loops. Consequently, menopause is accompanied by hot flashes, urogenital atrophy, cognitive decline, and other symptoms that reduce quality of life. To ameliorate these negative consequences, estrogen-containing hormone therapy is prescribed. Findings from clinical and pre-clinical research studies suggest that menopausal hormone therapies can benefit memory and associated neural substrates. However, findings are variable, with some studies reporting null or even detrimental cognitive and neurobiological effects of these therapies. Thus, at present, treatment options for optimal cognitive and brain health outcomes in menopausal women are limited. As such, elucidating factors that influence the cognitive and neurobiological effects of menopausal hormone therapy represents an important need relevant to every aging woman. To this end, work in this dissertation has supported the hypothesis that multiple factors, including post-treatment circulating estrogen levels, experimental handling, type of estrogen treatment, and estrogen receptor activity, can impact the realization of cognitive benefits with Premarin hormone therapy. We found that the dose-dependent working memory benefits of subcutaneous Premarin administration were potentially regulated by the ratios of circulating estrogens present following treatment (Chapter 2). When we administered Premarin orally, it impaired memory (Chapter 3). Follow-up studies revealed that this impairment was likely due to the handling associated with treatment administration and the task difficulty of the memory measurement used (Chapters 3 and 4). Further, we demonstrated that the unique cognitive impacts of estrogens that become increased in circulation following Premarin treatments, such as estrone (Chapter 5), and their interactions with the estrogen receptors (Chapter 6), may influence the realization of hormone therapy-induced cognitive benefits. Future directions include assessing the mnemonic effects of: 1) individual biologically relevant estrogens and 2) clinically-used bioidentical hormone therapy combinations of estrogens. Taken together, information gathered from these studies can inform the development of novel hormone therapies in which these parameters are optimized.

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Date Created
2013

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Age related changes in cognition and brain: a focus on progestogens

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Cognitive function declines with normal age and disease states, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Loss of ovarian hormones at menopause has been shown to exacerbate age-related memory decline and may be related to the increased risk of AD in women

Cognitive function declines with normal age and disease states, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Loss of ovarian hormones at menopause has been shown to exacerbate age-related memory decline and may be related to the increased risk of AD in women versus men. Some studies show that hormone therapy (HT) can have beneficial effects on cognition in normal aging and AD, but increasing evidence suggests that the most commonly used HT formulation is not ideal. Work in this dissertation used the surgically menopausal rat to evaluate the cognitive effects and mechanisms of progestogens proscribed to women. I also translated these questions to the clinic, evaluating whether history of HT use impacts hippocampal and entorhinal cortex volumes assessed via imaging, and cognition, in menopausal women. Further, this dissertation investigates how sex impacts responsiveness to dietary interventions in a mouse model of AD. Results indicate that the most commonly used progestogen component of HT, medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), impairs cognition in the middle-aged and aged surgically menopausal rat. Further, MPA is the sole hormone component of the contraceptive Depo Provera, and my research indicates that MPA administered to young-adult rats leads to long lasting cognitive impairments, evident at middle age. Natural progesterone has been gaining increasing popularity as an alternate option to MPA for HT; however, my findings suggest that progesterone also impairs cognition in the middle-aged and aged surgically menopausal rat, and that the mechanism may be through increased GABAergic activation. This dissertation identified two less commonly used progestogens, norethindrone acetate and levonorgestrel, as potential HTs that could improve cognition in the surgically menopausal rat. Parameters guiding divergent effects on cognition were discovered. In women, prior HT use was associated with larger hippocampal and entorhinal cortex volumes, as well as a modest verbal memory enhancement. Finally, in a model of AD, sex impacts responsiveness to a dietary cognitive intervention, with benefits seen in male, but not female, transgenic mice. These findings have clinical implications, especially since women are at higher risk for AD diagnosis. Together, it is my hope that this information adds to the overarching goal of optimizing cognitive aging in women.

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Date Created
2012

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Hippocampal BDNF mediates recovery from chronic stress-induced spatial reference memory deficits

Description

Chronic restraint stress impairs hippocampal-mediated spatial learning and memory, which improves following a post-stress recovery period. Here, we investigated whether brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein important for hippocampal function, would alter the recovery from chronic stress-induced spatial memory

Chronic restraint stress impairs hippocampal-mediated spatial learning and memory, which improves following a post-stress recovery period. Here, we investigated whether brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein important for hippocampal function, would alter the recovery from chronic stress-induced spatial memory deficits. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were infused into the hippocampus with adeno- associated viral vectors containing the coding sequence for short interfering (si)RNA directed against BDNF or a scrambled sequence (Scr), with both containing the coding information for green fluorescent protein to aid in anatomical localization. Rats were then chronically restrained (wire mesh, 6h/d/21d) and assessed for spatial learning and memory using a radial arm water maze (RAWM) either immediately after stressor cessation (Str-Imm) or following a 21-day post-stress recovery period (Str-Rec). All groups learned the RAWM task similarly, but differed on the memory retention trial. Rats in the Str-Imm group, regardless of viral vector contents, committed more errors in the spatial reference memory domain than did non-stressed controls. Importantly, the typical improvement in spatial memory following recovery from chronic stress was blocked with the siRNA against BDNF, as Str-Rec-siRNA performed worse on the RAWM compared to the non-stressed controls or Str-Rec-Scr. These effects were specific for the reference memory domain as repeated entry errors that reflect spatial working memory were unaffected by stress condition or viral vector contents. These results demonstrate that hippocampal BDNF is necessary for the recovery from stress-induced hippocampal dependent spatial memory deficits in the reference memory domain.

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Date Created
2013

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Relationships Between the Inflammatory Responses of the Immune System and Periods of Critical Hormonal Shifts in Females Across the Lifespan: A Pregnancy Review

Description

In females, critical hormonal shifts occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and <br/>menopause. The fluctuating ovarian hormone levels across a woman’s lifespan likely contribute <br/>to inflammatory responses driven by the immune system, which is regulated by a variety of <br/>physiological pathways

In females, critical hormonal shifts occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and <br/>menopause. The fluctuating ovarian hormone levels across a woman’s lifespan likely contribute <br/>to inflammatory responses driven by the immune system, which is regulated by a variety of <br/>physiological pathways and microbiological cues. Pregnancy in particular results in drastic <br/>changes in circulating hormone profiles, and involves a variety of physiological changes, <br/>including inflammatory responses of the immune system. There is evidence that these effects are <br/>mediated, in part, by the significant hormone fluctuations that characterize pregnancy and <br/>postpartum periods. This thesis highlights and synthesizes important physiological changes <br/>associated with pregnancy, and their potential implications on cognitive and brain aging in <br/>women. A tertiary model of cognition is presented depicting interactions between hormonal <br/>history, reproductive history, and immune functions. This research is important to create a better <br/>understanding of women’s health and enhance medical care for women throughout pregnancy <br/>and across reproductive hormone shifts across the lifespan.

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2021-05

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The effects of age, hormone loss, and estrogen treatment on spatial cognition in the rat: parameters and putative mechanisms

Description

Cognitive function is multidimensional and complex, and research indicates that it is impacted by age, lifetime experience, and ovarian hormone milieu. One particular domain of cognitive function that is susceptible to age-related decrements is spatial memory. Cognitive practice can affect

Cognitive function is multidimensional and complex, and research indicates that it is impacted by age, lifetime experience, and ovarian hormone milieu. One particular domain of cognitive function that is susceptible to age-related decrements is spatial memory. Cognitive practice can affect spatial memory when aged in both males and females, and in females alone ovarian hormones have been found to alter spatial memory via modulating brain microstructure and function in many of the same brain areas affected by aging. The research in this dissertation has implications that promote an understanding of the effects of cognitive practice on aging memory, why males and females respond differently to cognitive practice, and the parameters and mechanisms underlying estrogen's effects on memory. This body of work suggests that cognitive practice can enhance memory when aged and that estrogen is a probable candidate facilitating the observed differences in the effects of cognitive practice depending on sex. This enhancement in cognitive practice effects via estrogen is supported by data demonstrating that estrogen enhances spatial memory and hippocampal synaptic plasticity. The estrogen-facilitated memory enhancements and alterations in hippocampal synaptic plasticity are at least partially facilitated via enhancements in cholinergic signaling from the basal forebrain. Finally, age, dose, and type of estrogen utilized are important factors to consider when evaluating estrogen's effects on memory and its underlying mechanisms, since age alters the responsiveness to estrogen treatment and the dose of estrogen needed, and small alterations in the molecular structure of estrogen can have a profound impact on estrogen's efficacy on memory. Collectively, this dissertation elucidates many parameters that dictate the outcome, and even the direction, of the effects that cognitive practice and estrogens have on cognition during aging. Indeed, many parameters including the ones described here are important considerations when designing future putative behavioral interventions, behavioral therapies, and hormone therapies. Ideally, the parameters described here will be used to help design the next generation of interventions, therapies, and nootropic agents that will allow individuals to maintain their cognitive capacity when aged, above and beyond what is currently possible, thus enacting lasting improvement in women's health and public health in general.

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Date Created
2011

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What's in a name: effect of breed perceptions & labeling on attractiveness, adoptions & length of stay for pit-bull-type dogs

Description

Previous research has indicated that certain breeds of dogs stay longer in shelters than others; however exactly how breed perception and identification influences potential adopters' decisions remains unclear. Current dog breed identification practices in animal shelters are often based upon

Previous research has indicated that certain breeds of dogs stay longer in shelters than others; however exactly how breed perception and identification influences potential adopters' decisions remains unclear. Current dog breed identification practices in animal shelters are often based upon information supplied by the relinquishing owner, or staff determination based on the dog's phenotype. However discrepancies have been found between breed identification as typically assessed by welfare agencies and the outcome of DNA analysis. In Study 1, the perceived behavioral and adoptability characteristics of a pit-bull-type dog were compared with those of a Labrador Retriever and Border Collie. How the addition of a human handler influenced those perceptions was also assessed. In Study 2, lengths of stay and perceived attractiveness of dogs that were labeled as pit bull breeds to dogs that were phenotypically similar but were labeled as another breed at an animal shelter were compared. The latter dogs were called "lookalikes." In Study 3, perceived attractiveness in video recordings of pit-bull-type dogs and lookalikes with and without breed labels were compared. Lastly, data from an animal shelter that ceased applying breed labeling on kennels was analyzed, and lengths of stay and outcomes for all dog breeds, including pit bulls, before and after the change in labeling practice were compared. In total, these findings suggest that breed labeling influences potential adopters' perceptions and decision-making. Given the inherent complexity of breed assignment based on morphology coupled with negative breed perceptions, removing breed labels is a relatively low-cost strategy that will likely improve outcomes for dogs in animal shelters.

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2015

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Effect of number of food pieces on food selection and consumption in animals and humans

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There are several visual dimensions of food that can affect food intake, example portion size, color, and variety. This dissertation elucidates the effect of number of pieces of food on preference and amount of food consumed in humans and motivation

There are several visual dimensions of food that can affect food intake, example portion size, color, and variety. This dissertation elucidates the effect of number of pieces of food on preference and amount of food consumed in humans and motivation for food in animals. Chapter 2 Experiment 1 showed that rats preferred and also ran faster for multiple pieces (30, 10 mg pellets) than an equicaloric, single piece of food (300 mg) showing that multiple pieces of food are more rewarding than a single piece. Chapter 2 Experiment 2 showed that rats preferred a 30-pellet food portion clustered together rather than scattered. Preference and motivation for clustered food pieces may be interpreted based on the optimal foraging theory that animals prefer foods that can maximize energy gain and minimize the risk of predation. Chapter 3 Experiment 1 showed that college students preferred and ate less of a multiple-piece than a single-piece portion and also ate less in a test meal following the multiple-piece than single-piece portion. Chapter 3 Experiment 2 replicated the results in Experiment 1 and used a bagel instead of chicken. Chapter 4 showed that college students given a five-piece chicken portion scattered on a plate ate less in a meal and in a subsequent test meal than those given the same portion clustered together. This is consistent with the hypothesis that multiple pieces of food may appear like more food because they take up a larger surface area than a single-piece portion. All together, these studies show that number and surface area occupied by food pieces are important visual cues determining food choice in animals and both food choice and intake in humans.

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Date Created
2013

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Dose and delivery method impact cognitive outcome of Ethinyl Estradiol administration in the surgically menopausal rat

Description

Ethinyl estradiol, (EE) a synthetic, orally bio-available estrogen, is the most commonly prescribed form of estrogen in oral contraceptives (Shively, C., 1998), and is found in at least 30 different contraceptive formulations currently prescribed to women (Curtis et al., 2005).

Ethinyl estradiol, (EE) a synthetic, orally bio-available estrogen, is the most commonly prescribed form of estrogen in oral contraceptives (Shively, C., 1998), and is found in at least 30 different contraceptive formulations currently prescribed to women (Curtis et al., 2005). EE is also used in hormone therapies prescribed to menopausal women, such as FemhrtTM (Simon et al., 2003). Thus, EE is prescribed clinically to women at ages ranging from puberty through reproductive senescence. Here, in two separate studies, the cognitive effects of cyclic or tonic EE administration following ovariectomy (Ovx) were evaluated in young, female rats. Study I assessed the cognitive effects of low and high doses of EE, delivered tonically via a subcutaneous osmotic pump. Study II evaluated the cognitive effects of low, medium, and high doses of EE administered via a daily subcutaneous injection. For these studies, the low and medium doses correspond to the range of doses currently used in clinical formulations, and the high dose corresponds to the range of doses prescribed to a generation of women between 1960 and 1970, when oral contraceptives first became available. For each study, cognition was evaluated with a battery of maze tasks tapping several domains of spatial learning and memory. At the highest dose, EE treatment impaired multiple domains of spatial memory relative to vehicle treatment, regardless of administration method. When given cyclically at the low and medium doses, EE did not impact working memory, but transiently impaired reference memory during the learning phase of testing. Of the doses and regimens tested here, only EE at the highest dose impaired several domains of memory; this was seen for both cyclic and tonic regimens. Cyclic and tonic delivery of low EE, a dose that corresponds to doses used in the clinic today, resulted in transient and null impairments, respectively, on cognition.

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Date Created
2012

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High serum androstenedione levels correlate with impaired memory in the surgically menopausal rat: a replication and new findings

Description

After natural menopause in women, androstenedione becomes the primary hormone secreted by the residual follicle deplete ovaries. Two independent studies, in rodents that had undergone ovarian follicular depletion, found that higher serum androstenedione levels correlated with increased working memory errors.

After natural menopause in women, androstenedione becomes the primary hormone secreted by the residual follicle deplete ovaries. Two independent studies, in rodents that had undergone ovarian follicular depletion, found that higher serum androstenedione levels correlated with increased working memory errors. This led to the hypothesis that androstenedione impairs memory. The current study directly tested this hypothesis, examining the cognitive effects of androstenedione administration in a rodent model. Middle-aged ovariectomized rats received vehicle or one of two doses of androstenedione (4 or 8 mg/kg daily). Rats were tested on a spatial working and reference memory maze battery including the water radial arm maze, Morris maze, and delay-match-to-sample task. Results showed that androstenedione at the highest dose impaired reference memory and working memory, including ability to maintain performance as memory demand was elevated. The latter was true for both high temporal demand memory retention of one item of spatial information, as well as the ability to handle multiple items of spatial working memory information. Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) levels were measured in multiple brain regions to determine whether the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system mediates androstenedione's cognitive impairments. Results showed that higher entorhinal cortex GAD levels were correlated with poorer Morris maze performance, regardless of androstenedione treatment. These findings suggest that androstenedione, the main hormone produced by the follicle deplete ovary, is detrimental to spatial learning, reference memory, and working memory, and that spatial reference memory performance might be related to the GABAergic system.

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Date Created
2012