Matching Items (19)

134581-Thumbnail Image.png

Does an extended washout period of six weeks following the end of chronic stress continue the benefits on spatial learning and memory?

Description

Chronic stress often leads to cognitive deficits, especially within the spatial memory domain mediated by the hippocampus. When chronic stress ends and a no-stress period ensues (i.e., washout, WO), spatial

Chronic stress often leads to cognitive deficits, especially within the spatial memory domain mediated by the hippocampus. When chronic stress ends and a no-stress period ensues (i.e., washout, WO), spatial ability improves, which can be better than non-stressed controls (CON). The WO period is often the same duration as the chronic stress paradigm. Given the potential benefit of a post-stress WO period on cognition, it is important to investigate whether this potential benefit of a post-stress WO period has long-lasting effects. In this project, chronic restraint (6hr/d/21d) in Sprague-Dawley rats was used, as it is the minimum duration necessary to observe spatial memory deficits. Two durations of post-stress WO were used following the end of chronic restraint, 3 weeks (STR-WO3) and 6 weeks (STR-WO6). Immediately after chronic stress (STR-IMM) or the WO periods, rats were tested on various cognitive tests. We corroborated past studies that chronic stress impaired spatial memory (STR-IMM vs CON). Interestingly, STR-WO3 and STR-WO6 failed to demonstrate improved spatial memory on a radial arm water maze task, performing similarly as STR-IMM. Performance outcomes were unlikely from differences in anxiety or motivation because rats from all conditions performed similarly on an open field task and on a simple object recognition paradigm, respectively. However, performance on object placement was unusual in that very few rats explored, suggesting some degree of anxiety or fear in all groups. One possible interpretation of the unusual results of the 3 week washout group may be attributed to the different spatial memory tasks used across studies or external factors from the study. Further exploration of these other factors led to the conclusion that they did not play a role and the STR-WO3 RAWM data were anomalous to other studies. This suggests that a washout period following chronic stress may not be fully understood.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

134855-Thumbnail Image.png

Chronic Stress Effects on the Functional Activation of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) Following Two Short-Term Memory Paradigms

Description

Chronic stress impairs spatial working memory, attention set-shifting, and response inhibition. The relationship between these functions and the potential underlying neurocircuitry, such as the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), needs further

Chronic stress impairs spatial working memory, attention set-shifting, and response inhibition. The relationship between these functions and the potential underlying neurocircuitry, such as the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), needs further research to understand how chronic stress impacts these functions. This study focused on the infralimbic (IL) and prelimbic (PRL) regions of the mPFC, to examine its involvement in two behavioral tasks, fixed minimum interval (FMI) and radial arm water maze (RAWM), following chronic stress, and the relationship between the two paradigms. A previous study failed to find a significant correlation between spatial working memory and response, both functions mediated by the PFC, even though chronic stress disrupted both outcomes. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the functional activation of the mPFC, following chronic stress in these two paradigms, in order to gain an understanding of the neurocircuitry involved within this region. The behavioral outcomes were performed prior to my involvement in the project, and the results corroborate previous findings that chronic stress impairs response inhibition on FMI and spatial working memory on RAWM. My honors thesis involved quantifying the immunohistochemistry-stained tissue to assess the functional activation of the mPFC. Over the course of six months, my work involved identifying the border between IL and PRL regions by overlaying captured images of tissues, starting at a lower magnification of 40x. Afterwards, images were recaptured at higher magnifications (100x) to quantify Fos-like counts of functional activation. No overt changes were found following chronic stress in Fos-like counts after performance on FMI or RAWM. However, response inhibition on the FMI task showed a relationship with the IL function; non-stressed rats displayed a positive correlation between response inhibition and Fos-like profiles. In contrast, chronically stressed rats revealed a negative correlation between response inhibition and Fos-like profiles. The IL cortex is revealed to facilitate extinction of a learned behavior. Thus, these results present a possible interpretation that there is an association, non-stressed rats suppressing a previously learned response, being formed.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

135025-Thumbnail Image.png

An Evaluation of the Cognitive Effects of Clinically Used Combination Hormone Therapy

Description

Estradiol (E2) and Levonorgestrel (Levo) are two hormones commonly used in hormone therapy (HT) to decrease symptoms associated with menopause. Both of these hormones have been shown to have beneficial

Estradiol (E2) and Levonorgestrel (Levo) are two hormones commonly used in hormone therapy (HT) to decrease symptoms associated with menopause. Both of these hormones have been shown to have beneficial effects on cognition when given alone in a rodent model of menopause. However, it is unknown whether these hormones, when taken in combination, are beneficial or harmful to cognition. This is a critically important question given that these hormones are most often given in combination versus separately. This thesis is composed of two studies examining the cognitive effects of E2 and Levo using a rat model of surgical menopause. Study 1 assessed how the dose of E2 treatment in rats impacted cognitive performance, and found that low dose E2 enhanced working memory performance. Next, based on the results from Study 1, Study 2 used low dose E2 in combination with different doses of Levo to examine the cognitive effects of several E2 to Levo ratio combinations. The results from Study 2 demonstrated that the combination of low dose E2 with a high dose of Levo at a 1:2 ratio impaired cognition, and that the ratio currently used in HT, 3:1, may also negatively impact cognition. Indeed, there was a dose response effect indicating that working and reference memory performance was incrementally impaired as Levo dose increased. The findings in this thesis suggest that the E2 plus Levo combination is likely not neutral for cognitive function, and prompts further evaluation in menopausal women, as well as drug discovery research to optimize HT using highly controlled preclinical models.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

135225-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

133891-Thumbnail Image.png

Does Chronically Administered Intermittent Restraint Stress (IRS) have Long-Lasting Effects on Fear Extinction and Depressive-Like Behavior?

Description

The current study investigated whether intermittent restraint stress (IRS) would impair fear extinction learning and lead to increased anxiety and depressive- like behaviors and then be attenuated when IRS ends

The current study investigated whether intermittent restraint stress (IRS) would impair fear extinction learning and lead to increased anxiety and depressive- like behaviors and then be attenuated when IRS ends and a post- stress rest period ensues for 6 weeks. Young adult, male Sprague Dawley rats underwent restraint stress using wire mesh (6hr/daily) for five days with two days off before restraint resumed for three weeks for a total of 23 restraint days. The groups consisted of control (CON) with no restraint other than food and water restriction yoked to the restrained groups, stress immediate (STR-IMM), which were restrained then fear conditioned soon after the end of the IRS paradigm, and stress given a rest for 6 weeks before fear conditioning commenced (STR-R6). Rats were fear conditioned by pairing a 20 second tone with a footshock, then given extinction training for two days (15 tone only on each day). On the first day of extinction, all groups discriminated well on the first trial, but then as trials progressed, STR-R6 discriminated between tone and context less than did CON. On the second day of extinction, STR- IMM froze more to context in the earlier trials than compared to STR-R6 and CON. As trials progressed STR-IMM and STR-R6 froze more to context than compared to CON. Together, CON discriminated between tone and context better than did STR-IMM and STR-R6. Sucrose preference, novelty suppressed feeding, and elevated plus maze was performed after fear extinction was completed. No statistical differences were observed among groups for sucrose preference or novelty suppressed feeding. For the elevated plus maze, STR-IMM entered the open arms and the sum of both open and closed arms fewer than did STR- R6 and CON. We interpret the findings to suggest that the stress groups displayed increased hypervigilance and anxiety with STR-R6 exhibiting a unique phenotype than that of STR-IMM and CON.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

147801-Thumbnail Image.png

Impact of In-Utero Dexamethasone on Autonomic Regulation in Adulthood

Description

Premature babies are at risk of death from immature lung development. For this reason, pregnant mothers at risk for preterm delivery are administered dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic glucocorticoid that promotes

Premature babies are at risk of death from immature lung development. For this reason, pregnant mothers at risk for preterm delivery are administered dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic glucocorticoid that promotes fetal lung development. However, exposure to DEX in utero is associated with low birth weight and cardiovascular development pathologies. Moreover, our lab found that DEX administration in-utero leads to a sex-specific increase in stress-induced tachycardia in female, but not male offspring. This project seeks to expand on this preliminary finding of the heart by examining local effectors of activity from the sympathetic system (tyrosine hydroxylase and catechol-o-methyltransferase). Tyrosine hydroxylase was measured as it catalyzes the rate limiting step of norepinephrine synthesis while catechol-O- methyltransferase was studied as it catalyzes the degradation of norepinephrine. Acetylcholinesterase was used to measure parasympathetic activity as it catalyzes the degradation of the primary neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system, acetylcholine. Analyses of sympathetic as well as parasympathetic activity were done to determine influences of in-utero DEX exposure on autonomic regulation in adulthood. Pregnant rats were administered DEX (0.4 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle (20% w/v 2-hydroxypropyl ß- cyclodextran) at gestation days 18-21, with euthanasia of offspring occurring at around the time the offspring reached 13-15 weeks of age. Left ventricles and right atria were pulverized, processed and subjected to western blot analysis to determine expression of proteins of interest. Males exposed to DEX in-utero saw a decrease in tyrosine hydroxylase expression in left ventricle and right atrium when compared to vehicle control, a difference not seen with females. In addition, catechol-o-methyltransferase expression was increased in right atria from male, but not female rats. Acetylcholinesterase expression was reduced in the right atria of female, but not male rats. The present findings suggest reduced norepinephrine signaling in the heart of male, but not female DEX-exposed offspring. Given that we have previously found that female, but not male rats exhibit exaggerated stress-induced tachycardia, our current findings suggest that males possess a sex-specific compensatory mechanism allowing the heart to resist increased sympathetic signaling from the brain, one that females do not possess. The underlying mechanics of this proposed mechanism are unclear, and further investigation is needed in this subject to determine the significance of the findings from our study.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

135343-Thumbnail Image.png

The Proteomic Profile of Chronic Stress and Recovery in the Hippocampus

Description

The stress response facilitates our ability to deal effectively with threatening situations, but exposure to severe or chronic stressors can lead to undesirable neural, physiological, and behavioral outcomes. Chronic stress

The stress response facilitates our ability to deal effectively with threatening situations, but exposure to severe or chronic stressors can lead to undesirable neural, physiological, and behavioral outcomes. Chronic stress is associated with structural changes in the rat hippocampus, with corresponding deficits in learning and memory. Recent studies have uncovered an inherent neuroplasticity that allows the hippocampus to recover from these stress-induced neural changes. Underlying mechanisms likely involve several different cellular and molecular pathways. In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of these pathways, we investigated differences in protein expression throughout the timeline of chronic stress and recovery. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to chronic restraint stress for 6hr/d/10d or 6hr/d/21d, stress for 6hr/d/21d followed by a recovery period of no stress for 10 or 21 days, or a control group. The proteome from the hippocampus of these rats was sequenced using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and analyzed. We hypothesized that chronic stress alters interneuronal signaling in the hippocampus by enhancing or attenuating the expression of proteins responsible for synaptic plasticity (functional) and neuronal structure (morphology). So far we have found that structural proteins, such as alpha-internexin, homer protein homolog 3, neurofilament light, and vimentin were significantly altered by chronic stress and recovery. In contrast, proteins necessary for or associated with myelination such as 2',3'-cyclic-nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase, myelin-associated glycoprotein, myelin basic protein S, and myelin proteolipid protein were significantly downregulated by chronic stress. Collectively, these results will provide a resource for further investigations into the mechanisms of the brain's recovery from chronic stress.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

134789-Thumbnail Image.png

Is the Click the Trick? Examining the Efficacy of Clickers and Other Reinforcement Methods in Training Naïve Dogs to Perform New Tasks

Description

A handheld metal cricket noisemaker known as a "clicker" is often used in dog training to teach dogs new behaviors; however, evidence for the superior efficacy of clickers as opposed

A handheld metal cricket noisemaker known as a "clicker" is often used in dog training to teach dogs new behaviors; however, evidence for the superior efficacy of clickers as opposed to providing solely primary reinforcement or other secondary reinforcers in the acquisition of novel behavior in dogs is almost entirely anecdotal. We sought to determine under what circumstances a clicker may result in acquisition of a novel behavior to a higher level when compared to other potential reinforcement methods. In Experiment 1, three groups of 30 dogs each were trained to emit a novel sit and stay behavior with either the delivery of food alone, a verbal marker with food, or a clicker and food. The group that received only a primary reinforcer reached a significantly higher criterion of training than the group trained with a verbal secondary reinforcer. Performance of the group experiencing a clicker secondary reinforcer was intermediate between the other two groups, but not significantly different from either. In Experiment 2, three different groups of 25 dogs each were shaped to emit a nose targeting behavior and then perform that behavior at increasing distances from the experimenter using the same three methods of positive reinforcement used in Experiment 1. No statistically significant differences between the groups were found. Overall, the findings suggest that both clickers and other forms of positive reinforcement can be used successfully in training a dog to perform a novel behavior.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

134795-Thumbnail Image.png

Investigating the relationship between CA3 dendritic restructuring and CA1 dendritic complexity following chronic stress, BDNF downregulation, and a post-stress recovery period

Description

Chronic restraint stress leads to apical dendritic retraction in CA3 pyramidal neurons and often no quantifiable changes in CA1 dendritic complexity. When chronic stress ends, a post-stress recovery period results

Chronic restraint stress leads to apical dendritic retraction in CA3 pyramidal neurons and often no quantifiable changes in CA1 dendritic complexity. When chronic stress ends, a post-stress recovery period results in an enhancement in CA3 dendritic complexity. We investigated the relationship between CA3 and CA1 pyramidal neurons to determine whether dendritic restructuring in CA3 neurons leads to region-specific changes in the dendritic complexity of CA1 neurons. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were restrained (wire mesh, 6h/d/21d) and brains were removed soon after restraint ended (Str-Imm) or after a 21d post-stress recovery period (Str-Rec). In addition, BDNF downregulation targeting the CA3 region prevents enhancement in dendritic complexity following recovery in chronically stressed rats, providing robust conditions to investigate the CA3-CA1 relationship. Consequently, rats were infused into the CA3 area with either an AAV vector with a coding sequence against BDNF (shRNA) or a sequence with no known mRNA complements (Scr). Apical and basal dendritic complexity of CA3 and CA1 was quantified by counting total dendritic bifurcations and dendritic intersections using the Sholl analysis (20 µm distances from soma). Please note that the quantification of the CA3 dendritic arbors was not part of this thesis project. The outcome of that investigation revealed that apical CA3 dendritic retraction was found in Str-Imm-Scr and Str-Rec-shRNA. For the CA1 apical area, gross dendritic bifurcation differences were not detected, but the Sholl quantification revealed regionally-enhanced dendritic complexity that varied by distance from the soma at the distal apical dendrites (Str-Imm-Scr) and proximal basal dendrites (Str-Rec-shRNA). For the latter, significant increases in basal branch points were detected with total branch point quantification method. Moreover, a correlation using all groups revealed a significant inverse relationship between CA3 apical dendritic complexity and CA1 basal dendritic complexity. The results demonstrate that chronic stress-induced CA3 apical dendritic retraction may relate to region-specific changes in CA1 dendritic complexity. The inability of past studies to detect changes in CA1 dendritic complexity may be due to the shortcoming of gross dendritic arbor measures in accounting for subtle region-specific alterations. To address this, the current study included a cohort with BDNF downregulated in the CA3 region. Overall, this suggests that decreased levels of BDNF in the hippocampus provide robust conditions in which changes to CA1 dendritic complexity can be detected.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

130879-Thumbnail Image.png

Unpredictable, intermittent, chronic stress may increase dendritic complexity of short shaft hippocampal neurons

Description

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects over 300 million people worldwide, with the hippocampus showing decreased volume and activity in patients with MDD. The current study investigated whether a novel preclinical

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects over 300 million people worldwide, with the hippocampus showing decreased volume and activity in patients with MDD. The current study investigated whether a novel preclinical model of depression, unpredictable intermittent restraint (UIR), would decrease hippocampal neuronal dendritic complexity. Adult Sprague Dawley rats (24 male, 24 female) were equally divided into 4 groups: control males (CON-M), UIR males (UIR-M), control females (CON-F) and UIR females (UIR-F). UIR groups received restraint and shaking on an orbital shaker on a randomized schedule for 30 or 60 minutes/day for two to six days in a row for 26 days (21 total UIR days) before behavioral testing commenced. UIR continued and was interspersed between behavioral test days. At the end of behavioral testing, brains were processed. The behavior is published and not part of my honor’s thesis; my contribution involved quantifying and analyzing neurons in the hippocampus. Several neuronal types are found in the CA3 subregion of the hippocampus and I focused on short shaft (SS) neurons, which show different sensitivities to stress than the more common long shaft (LS) variety. Brains sections were mounted to slides and Golgi stained. SS neurons were drawn using a microscope with camera lucida attachment and quantified using the number of bifurcations and dendritic intersections as metrics for dendritic complexity in the apical and basal areas separately. The hypothesis that SS neurons in the CA3 region of the hippocampus would exhibit apical dendritic simplification in both sexes after UIR was not supported by our findings. In contrast, following UIR, SS apical dendrites were more complex in both sexes compared to controls. Although unexpected, we believe that the UIR paradigm was an effective stressor, robust enough to illicit neuronal adaptations. It appears that the time from the end of UIR to when the brain tissue was collected, or the post-stress recovery period, and/or repeated behavioral testing may have played a role in the observed increased neuronal complexity. Future studies are needed to parse out these potential effects.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-12