Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience Institute

First Advisor

Aras Petrulis, PhD

Abstract

Behavioral responses to social odors in Syrian hamsters are regulated by brain structures including the medial amygdala (Me) and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). The role of these areas in regulating social behaviors has been previously studied in detail. However, the chemical phenotypes of neurons in these areas have not been well defined. Based on previous literature, we hypothesize that there is an increase in Me GABAergic signaling in response to social odors in male hamsters. To test this, we quantified colocalization of Calbindin and Fos in the Me of male hamsters after odor exposure. There were no significant differences in the percentage of Fos+ cells that were CB+ between odor conditions, but the percentage of CB+ cells that were Fos+ was higher in subjects exposed to conspecific odors versus clean odors. This implies that CB+ neurons transmit social information in the Me of male hamsters.

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