Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience Institute

First Advisor

H. Elliott Albers

Second Advisor

Joseph Terranova

Abstract

In male Syrian hamsters. social avoidance of other hamsters is produced when an individual is defeated by another larger hamster. Social avoidance produced by this social defeat stress is mediated in part by serotonin (5-HT). 24 hours after social defeat, increasing extracellular 5-HT levels by the systemic administration of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine, prior to social avoidance testing increases social avoidance. However, 24 hours after social defeat, site-specific microinjection of 8-OH-DPAT, a 5-HT1a receptor agonist, into the anterior hypothalamus decreases social avoidance. Thus, there is a discrepancy between the systemic and site-specific effects of 5-HT on social avoidance. The goal of this study is to determine if the anxiolytic effects of 5-HT1a receptor activation after social defeat and prior to avoidance testing are specific to the anterior hypothalamus or if systemic activation of 5-HT1a receptors prior to avoidance testing reduces social avoidance. Our data suggest that systemic activation of 5-HT1a receptors after social defeat and prior to avoidance testing does not affect social avoidance. Therefore, the ability of 5-HT1a receptors to reduce social avoidance in male hamsters is site-specific, at least at the level of the anterior hypothalamus

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