3MT_Shaw_2021 Regional embedded slide mp4 format
From Gladys Shaw
Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Advisor: Dr. Gretchen Neigh
3MT 2021 Heat 2
Title: The Enduring Consequences of Chronic Repeated Stress on Neuro-Metabolic Function
While neurodegenerative disorders are becoming more prevalent within America’s aging populations, mood disorders are steadily being diagnosed at younger ages each year. The positive correlation between adverse life experiences and the development of disorders including, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a crucial connection between trauma and long-lasting neurological changes. Previous focus has been on the impact of early life stress and the subsequent changes in the brain, however little focus has been placed on repeated trauma that begins in the highly dynamic and unique developmental period of adolescence into early adulthood. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to explore the relationship between these factors and potential mechanistic differences between the sexes. Current literature suggests trauma in male rodents alters the mitochondrial genome, axonal transport, and myelin composition. Additionally, preliminary data suggests altered mitochondrial respiration in whole brain synaptosomes in a sex- and stress-specific manner. The overarching goal of this thesis is to determine the effect of chronic repeated predation stress in the alteration of metabolic function in hippocampal neurons, hippocampal cytoarchitecture, and hippocampal myelin thickness in a sex- and stress-specific manner. Using male and female C57Bl/6 mice subject to chronic repeated predation stress during adolescence and early adulthood, this thesis aims to assess persistent hippocampal changes following chronic trauma. Resulting data will support the claim that chronic stress during this critical timepoint may induce persistent, sex-specific changes subsequently increasing the risk of psychological disorders and neurodegeneration. Understanding the link between chronic repeated trauma and subsequent alterations in both brain and behavior in adulthood may aid in the identification of high risk individuals, the early detection of cognitive decline, and in the determination of the neural mechanisms to be used in the development of novel, preventative treatments for both mood and neurodegenerative disorders as a whole.