Matching Items (45)

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

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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.

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  • 2017-05

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Suppressive and Enhancing Effects of Nicotine on Food-Seeking Behavior

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The present study examined how systemic low doses of nicotine affect the microstructure of food-reinforced behavior in rats. Rats were given an acute saline or nicotine treatment (0.1-0.6 mg/kg, resting

The present study examined how systemic low doses of nicotine affect the microstructure of food-reinforced behavior in rats. Rats were given an acute saline or nicotine treatment (0.1-0.6 mg/kg, resting at least 48 h between injections), and a chronic saline or nicotine treatment (0.3 mg/kg for 10 consecutive days). Immediately after treatment, rats were required to press a lever to obtain food, whose availability was unpredictable, but programmed at a constant rate (on average every 80 s). Acute nicotine dose-dependently suppressed behavior prior to the delivery of the first reinforcer, but enhanced food-reinforced behavior afterwards. This effect was primarily observed in the time it took rats to initiate food-seeking behavior, and not in the food-seeking behavior itself. A pre-feeding control procedure suggests that these effects cannot be explained only by changes in appetite. Over the course of chronic nicotine exposure, tolerance developed to the suppressive, but not to the enhancing effects of nicotine on food-seeking behavior. These results suggest that ostensive sensitization effects of nicotine on behavior may instead reflect a tolerance for its suppressive effects on behavior.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

A Methodology for Determining the Dendritic Complexity of Hippocampal Neurons in Chronically Stressed Rats

Description

Chronic stress is a risk factor for many diseases that impact the brain, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Unlike acute stress, chronic stress reduces neuronal plasticity, which can lead to neuronal remodeling

Chronic stress is a risk factor for many diseases that impact the brain, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Unlike acute stress, chronic stress reduces neuronal plasticity, which can lead to neuronal remodeling and suppression. This project investigates the effect of stress on the dendritic complexity of hippocampal neurons in rats, demonstrating a methodology for procuring and analyzing these neurons. The brains of the 160 rats from the Sustained Threat and Timing (STAT) experiment were frozen. The STAT experiment investigated the effect chronic variable stress had on prospective and retrospective timing in rodents. Using a cryostat, thin coronal slices of brain tissue were placed on microscopic slides. The tissue samples were then stained using the Golgi method of silver staining. Hippocampal neurons were assessed using Sholl Analysis; the dendritic complexity of these neurons was quantified. The method of using Sholl Analysis was found to be an effective process in measuring dendritic length of hippocampal neurons.

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  • 2020-05

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Investigation of Sniffing as a Viable Measure of Odor Habituation in Mice

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Mammalian olfaction relies on active sniffing, which both shapes and is shaped by olfactory stimuli. Habituation to repeated exposure of an olfactory stimuli is believed to be mediated by decreased

Mammalian olfaction relies on active sniffing, which both shapes and is shaped by olfactory stimuli. Habituation to repeated exposure of an olfactory stimuli is believed to be mediated by decreased sniffing; however, this decrease may be reserved by exposure to novel odorants. Because of this, it may be possible to use sniffing itself as a measure of novelty, and thus as a measure of odorant similarity. Thus, I investigated the use of sniffing to measure habituation, cross-habituation, and odorant similarity. During habituation experiments, increases in sniff rate seen in response to odorant presentation decreased in magnitude between the first and second presentations, suggesting of habituation. Some of this reduction in sniff rate increases was revered by the presentation of a novel odorant in cross-habituations. However the effect sizes in cross-habituation experiments were low, and the variability high, forestalling the conclusion that sniffing accurately measured cross-habituation. I discuss improvements to the experimental protocol that may allow for cross-habituation to be more accurately measured using sniffing alone in future experiments.

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  • 2015-12

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A Virtual Sholl Analysis of the Neuronal Morphological Impact of Stress in Rats

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Stress activates physiological systems within the body to protect oneself against the potential harmful effects of enduring long-term stress. Past studies have shown that structures involved in timing are implicated

Stress activates physiological systems within the body to protect oneself against the potential harmful effects of enduring long-term stress. Past studies have shown that structures involved in timing are implicated in a number of psychological disorders and further are sensitive to stress. In this experiment, Sprague Dawley rats are trained to perform a perspective timing task and are then exposed to twice-daily chronic variable stress for 21 days. Behavioral data are collected, followed by post-mortem tissue analysis of the PFC, hippocampus, and striatum. This study aims to examine the morphological changes in key brain regions such as the hippocampus that appear to be involved in interval timing. Additionally, this study aims to confirm that dendritic complexity in the hippocampus produces consistent data using a classic Sholl analysis versus using a virtual image-stacking software, Neurostackr. The results of this study demonstrate that the expected Gaussian graph produced from a classic Sholl analysis was produced from both a long-shaft and short-shaft neuron found in the hippocampus using the virtual technology. These findings verify that a virtual image-stacking software and Sholl analysis will suffice in place of the traditional method of hand traced neurons on a transparent sheet with concentric circles to count bifurcation points. This virtual method ultimately reduces cost, improves timeliness of data collection, and eliminates some of the subjectivity of human error.

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  • 2020-05

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Habitization of Intertemporal Decision-Making: Influence on Framing Effects

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We hypothesized that recurrent exposure to a temporal discounting task would habitize participants, so that they become insensitive to framing effects. Temporal discounting is a behavioral trend which describes how

We hypothesized that recurrent exposure to a temporal discounting task would habitize participants, so that they become insensitive to framing effects. Temporal discounting is a behavioral trend which describes how people discount the value of a reward dependent on the time until receipt. Participants completed a temporal discounting task weekly for five weeks, to promote formation of a habitual decision strategy. Concomitant with this, we expected that people would shift their decision process from a deliberate, goal-oriented approach that is sensitive to changes in reward outcomes and environmental context, to a simplified, automatic approach that minimizes cognitive effort. We expected that this shift in decision strategy would be evident in a reduced influence of contextual effects on choice outcomes. We tested this hypothesis by leveraging two framing effects \u2014 the date/delay effect and the decimal effect. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that the date/delay effect is significant on week 1, shows significant changes in week 1 to week 5, and is no longer significant on week 5. The results for the decimal effects were not significant. We discuss these results with respect to the cognitive processes that underlie temporal discounting and self-control.

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  • 2016-05

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Effects of SWR-5 on cocaine self-administration and D3-mediated behavior

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The epidemic of drug addiction continues to grow at an alarming rate and cocaine-related overdoses have increased by more than 33% over the last decade. Cocaine targets the mesolimbic reward

The epidemic of drug addiction continues to grow at an alarming rate and cocaine-related overdoses have increased by more than 33% over the last decade. Cocaine targets the mesolimbic reward system in the brain to produce the “high” felt when taking cocaine. There is currently no single cure for psychostimulant abuse, but researchers continue to find viable therapeutic options. Dopamine receptors have been a recent target for researchers. We tested a novel D3R-antagonist, SWR-5, with 905-fold D3/D2 selectivity, on addiction using a rat self- administration model and hypothesized that it would reduce motivation for cocaine. SWR-5 significantly reduced cocaine intake on a high-effort PR schedule at a dose of 10 mg/kg but did not affect sucrose intake. Also, SWR-5 did not affect either spontaneous or cocaine-induced locomotion. From our results, we concluded that SWR-5 affects motivation for cocaine, not sucrose, and does not produce adverse locomotor effects. Further research would include taking a behavioral economics approach to determine the cost/benefit ratio of taking the drug, as well as performing cue reinstatement tests to solidify whether SWR-5 plays a role in cocaine-seeking behavior.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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A Determination of the Hedonic Properties of Synthetic Cathinones 4-MEC and MDPV Through the Use of Intracranial Self-Stimulation

Description

The use of synthetic cathinones or "bath salts" has risen dramatically in recent years with one of the most popular being Methylendioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). Following the temporary legislative ban on the

The use of synthetic cathinones or "bath salts" has risen dramatically in recent years with one of the most popular being Methylendioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). Following the temporary legislative ban on the sale and distribution of this compound , a multitude of other cathinone derivatives have been synthesized. The current study seeks to compare the abuse potential of MDPV with one of the emergent synthetic cathinones 4-methylethcathinone (4-MEC), based on their respective ability to lower current thresholds in an intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) paradigm. Following acute administration (0.1, 0.5, 1 and 2 mg/kg i.p.) MDPV was found to significantly lower ICSS thresholds at all doses tested (F4,35=11.549, p<0.001). However, following acute administration (0.3,1,3,10,30 mg/kg i.p) 4-MEC produced no significant ICSS threshold depression (F5,135= 0.622, p = 0.684). Together these findings suggest that while MDPV may possess significant abuse potential, other synthetic cathinones such as 4-MEC may have a drastically reduced potential for abuse.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Effects of Adolescent Social Isolation on Behavioral Inhibition and Ethanol Preference in Mice

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Exploration of a mouse model (C57BL/6J) capable of demonstrating behavioral changes after adolescent social isolation that are consistent with prior findings may prove beneficial in later research. This study examined

Exploration of a mouse model (C57BL/6J) capable of demonstrating behavioral changes after adolescent social isolation that are consistent with prior findings may prove beneficial in later research. This study examined 2 proposed long-term effects of isolated housing (one mouse/cage), when compared to group housing (two mice/cage) during adolescence. Mice were placed in their respective housing conditions after weaning (PND 21) and remained in those conditions until PND 60. The same cohorts were used in both phases of the experiment. Phase 1 sought to confirm previous findings that showed increases in ethanol intake after adolescent social isolation using a 2-bottle preference Drinking-in-the-Dark (DID) design over a 4-day period (PND 64-PND 67.). Phase 2 sought to elucidate the effects present after adolescent social isolation, as measured using response inhibition capabilities demonstrated during fixed-minimum interval (FMI) trials (PND 81-PND 111). Findings in phase 1 of the experiment were non-significant, save a strong tendency for female mice in both housing conditions to drink more as a proportion of their bodyweight (g/kg). However, a trend of lower bodyweight in single housed mice did exist, which does suggest that detrimental stress was applied via the used of adolescent isolation in that housing condition. Findings in phase 2 showed little effect of adolescent social isolation on mean inter-response time (IRT) at any criterion used (FMI-0, FMI-4, FMI-6). Evaluation of mean interquartile range (IQR) of IRTs showed a significantly greater amount of variation in IRT responses within single housed mice at the highest criterion (FMI-6), and a trend in the same direction when FMI-4 and FMI-6 were tested concurrently. Taken as a whole, the findings of this experiment suggest that the effect of adolescent social isolation on ethanol intake is far less robust than the effect of sex and may be difficult to replicate in a low-power study. Additionally, adolescent social isolation may interfere with the ability of mice to show consistent accuracy during FMI tasks or a delay in recognition of FMI criterion change.

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  • 2021-05

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Nicotinic Enhancement of Incentive Salience

Description

Incentive salience is a motivational-cognitive process that can transform an otherwise neutral stimulus into something that is wanted. The prolonged use of nicotine appears to enhance incentive salience; it has

Incentive salience is a motivational-cognitive process that can transform an otherwise neutral stimulus into something that is wanted. The prolonged use of nicotine appears to enhance incentive salience; it has been suggested that the nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience contributes to the potential of relapse in individuals with tobacco addiction. In order to determine whether (a) nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience for non-nicotinic stimuli occurs when rats self-administer nicotine and (b) a history of nicotine use facilitates such enhancement, rats were trained in a morning self-administration paradigm (SA), in combination with an afternoon 4-CS Pavlovian conditioned approach task (PCA) for 24 days. SA was followed by extinction and cue reinstatement. Nicotine SA enhanced incentive salience in the PCA. Upon extinction, incentive salience quickly declined to saline levels, indicating that the nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience is transient. Experimenter-administered nicotine enhanced incentive salience similarly regardless of nicotine history, suggesting that a previous history of nicotine use does sensitize the nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience. Taken together, these results suggest that nicotine must be onboard for the expression of nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience. This suggests that the role of incentive salience in the development and relapse of tobacco addiction may need to be revisited.

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  • 2017-05