• LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA USE FOR DYSMENORRHEA IN YOUNG WOMEN: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

      Nelson, Brenda; College of Science and Mathematics; College of Nursing; Langley-Brady, Dawn; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Dysmenorrhea effects 20% of women causing missed school and work days and interferes with daily life. Dysmenorrhea is caused by menstrual uterine contractions which may result in pain, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Many women utilize pharmacological symptom management, but experience side effects such as edema, libido reduction and increased symptom severity. Aromatherapy is a holistic non-pharmacological approach to symptom reduction. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils via inhalation or topical application to relieve pain, stress and more.� The purpose of this project is to review the literature surrounding�Lavandula angustifolia�(lavender) and dysmenorrhea to give a foundation for future research. PubMed, TRIP, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for peer-reviewed journals articles in English and published within the last 10 years with the following keywords: dysmenorrhea, lavender, aromatherapy and human. The literature review resulted in six articles meeting inclusion criteria. These articles established the effectiveness of lavender in reducing dysmenorrhea pain in the first three days of menstruation, through inhalation and abdominal application. Lavender essential oil is also effective in reducing nausea and headaches resulting in an alternative for women experiencing dysmenorrhea. Aromatherapy has fewer risks than pharmacological and surgical approaches to dysmenorrhea management and should be studied further.
    • SYNTHESIS OF COUMARIN-LABELED AMINO ACIDS VIA �CLICK� CHEMISTRY

      Weathers, Angel; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Lebedyeva, Iryna; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      �Click� Chemistry is a convenient technique often applied during the synthesis of various bioconjugates. Several methods have been developed to administer �click� chemistry. Copper(1)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) reactions usually provide high chemoselectivity under green reaction conditions, and good to great yields. Because of this, CuAAC reactions serve many applications in chemical biology. In copper halide catalyzed reactions copper iodide is frequently used to facilitate transformational changes within the reaction. Copper(1) is combined with salts, metal complexes, or ionic liquids to provide effective catalytic systems for reactions. The use of co-solvent systems such as the one used in this research project, dimethylformamide and water, improves reaction efficiency. The alkyne moiety is an indispensible component of �click� chemistry reactions. Coumarins are the specific class of fluorophores examined in this research project because they are highly sensitive fluorescent laser dyes that have extended spectra range, high emission quantum yields, and better solubility compared to more complex fluorescent tags. Amino acids are often used as building blocks because they are recognized by cell membrane proteins more readily. In this project, a number of amino acids labeled with coumarin tags through CuAAC catalyzed 1,2,3-triazole links have been developed to study their fluorescent properties.
    • MIRNA AND THEIR EFFECTS ON BONE LOSS IN TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY PATIENTS

      Patel, Chandani; Patel, Reeya; College of Science and Mathematics; Department of Orthopedic Surgery; Fulzele, Sadanand; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been known to play a key role in bone regulation. Some miRNAs have been observed to increase bone formation via osteoblast formation and others seem to be involved in bone resorption via osteoclast formation. In this study, we aim to observe which miRNA of those secreted by cells during a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are involved in bone formation or bone resorption. Our focus miRNAs were: miRNA-151, miRNA-6991, miRNA-27a, miRNA-92, and miRNA-1224. Using mouse bone marrow monocytes (BMCs), we have induced osteoclast formation by feeding media containing macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) as well as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANK-L). After osteoclastogenesis, it has been observed via tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining that miRNA-151 and miRNA-6991 have been up-regulated during osteoclast differentiation. Of the ones examined in our study, miRNA-27a, miRNA-92, and miRNA-1224 have shown an increase during osteoblast differentiation. The observations from this study can contribute insight for creating possible therapeutic methods for osteoporosis related diseases.
    • CHARACTERIZING THE ROLE OF PANCREATIC STELLATE CELLS IN THE TRANSITION OF CHRONIC PANCREATITIS TO PANCREATIC CANCER

      Godoy, Catalina; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology; Csanyi, Gabor; Sabbatini, Maria; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Background- Chronic pancreatitis (CP) and pancreatic cancer are two diseases that share a mutual histological feature known as fibrosis produced by pancreatic stellate cells (PaSCs). In response to pancreatic inflammation, PaSCs are activated from quiescent phenotype into myofibroblast-like cells, which express extracellular matrix components. PaSCs are also known to facilitate the migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells, which are accompanied by increased matrix metalloprotease (MMP) production and epithelial-to mesenchymal transition (EMT). NADPH oxidase (Nox) is a family of enzymes that catalyze the transfer of an electron from NAD(P)H to oxygen to generate superoxide or hydrogen peroxide. Because Nox1 is expressed in PaSCs, the objective of this study was to assess the extent to which Nox1 in PaSCs facilitates the migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells by regulating the expression of MMP and genes involved in EMT. Results/Discussion-We found that the lack of Nox1 lowers the expression of MMP-9 mRNA and the EMT-induced gene Snail in PaSCs. Further studies need to be done in PaSCs from mice with CP and CP-associated oncogenic KRas-driven pancreatic cancer.
    • FLATFISH ASSEMBLAGE AND ABUNDANCE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SAINT CATHERINES ISLAND AND SATILLA RIVER ESTUARIES

      Bickle, Abigail; Coleman, Alex; Brown, Jason; Thiruvaiyaru, Dharma; Sethuraman, Sankar; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Mathematics; Reichmuth, Jessica; Saul, Bruce; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      St. Catherines Island is a pristine uninhabited barrier island off of the Georgia coast, and is believed to have experienced less anthropogenic alteration when compared to mainland estuarine habitats. In contrast, the Satilla River estuary has been historically affected by human activity, especially during the construction of navigational "cuts" through the marsh in the early 1900s. These cuts were used to support economic gain no longer in the area. Because of the differences in human influence, we hypothesize the fish assemblages will be different. We compared abundance of various resident flatfish species captured when trawling and using gill nets in these two systems. As benthic species, flatfish may be especially affected by anthropogenic disturbances of the estuarine substrates. This study provides insight into the effects of human disturbances on benthic fish species populations and assemblages. We compared catch-per-unit effort for six flatfish species between data among several sites, seasonally, between 2015 and 2018. We also looked at environmental variables when comparing abundance. The data are reflective of differences that exist in resident flatfish populations, and this condition could be explained by anthropogenic activities.
    • WILLIAMSON ETHER REACTION USING A SOLAR HEAT SOURCE DESIGNED FOR UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY LABORATORIES

      Hammond, Caroline; Wyman, Kailey; Blair, Gregory; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Agee, Brian; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Since the 1990�s, scientists have been attempting to make chemical synthesis procedures more environmentally friendly.� One area of environmental concern is the amount of electricity required to provide enough energy to complete an experiment. Recently proposed solar reflectors developed from satellite dishes have the ability to be incorporated into student laboratory procedures to eliminate electricity use while demonstrating green chemistry techniques at the same time. As a result, demand to incorporate more green chemistry techniques into student laboratories has increased. An effective means for minimizing the amount of electricity needed to drive chemical reactions to completion is proposed through the use of solar parabolic reflectors. A comparative study was conducted using an electrical and solar heat source on the Williamson Ether synthesis of 2-butoxynaphthalene. This reaction was chosen as the test reaction due to its widespread use among many undergraduate chemistry programs.
    • INVESTIGATING THE REQUIREMENT OF HOB1 ON THE SENSITIVITY OF�SCHIZOSACCHAROMYCES POMBE�AFTER EXPOSURE TO VARIOUS DNA DAMAGING AGENTS

      Qureshi, Arman; Department of Biological Sciences; Abdulovic-Cui, Amy L; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      It is inherently important that when damaged, DNA is repaired efficiently and with high accuracy. BIN1 encodes a protein that plays a role in genomic stability, specifically in cell cycle regulation, chromatin remodeling, and DNA repair. Previous research has shown that the protein Bin1 exhibits an inhibitory role in the double strand break repair pathway of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). The homolog of�BIN1,�HOB1, is found in the fission yeast,�Schizosaccharomyces pombe. To understand the role�HOB1�has on yeast survival after damage, two strains of�S. pombe, a wild type strain (WT) and a strain without�HOB1�(hob1?), were exposed to various DNA damaging agents. Each treatment introduced different types of DNA damage that require repair by different DNA repair pathways. These treatments included UV radiation, hydrogen peroxide treatment, Bleomycin treatment, and Cisplatin Treatment. After treatment with each respective agent, the death response of each strain was calculated and the % of surviving cells at multiple doses was graphed logarithmically. The data collected overwhelming support the idea that the presence of�HOB1�has a positive role on the survival of yeast after DNA damage. The WT strains tested survived better than the�hob1?�counterparts.
    • USING YCF1 TO INVESTIGATE THE LADIES' TRESSES ORCHIDS OF AU'S SUMMERVILLE CAMPUS

      Overlie, Benjamin; Saunders-Cummings, William; Department of Biological Sciences; Bates, Christopher; Christy, Charlotte; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      The Spring Ladies� Tresses orchid (Spiranthes vernalis�Engelmann & A. Gray) is a native wildflower found in the lawns of Augusta University's Summerville campus. The origin of these plants is unknown. Orchids usually grow slowly from seed, leading to lifecycles that can take 5+ years. Despite this, individuals are present in lawns known to be two years old or less. Thus, either these plants are reproducing with unusual speed, or some arrived with landscaping materials such as sod. We are attempting to use chloroplast DNA sequences to determine their degree of relatedness. �For this, a strongly conserved gene,�MATk, and a hypothetical reading frame,�ycf1, were chosen.�YCF1�is considered variable enough to show differences at the population level. Standard techniques for DNA extraction, amplification with PCR, and sequencing are being used. �The data will be used to address two questions: �1) Is�ycf1�variable enough to distinguish among individual plants?; and, if so, 2) Are the campus plants all closely related or do distinctive subpopulations exist?
    • SEQUENCE ANALYSIS OF ALU REPEATED ELEMENTS FOR PRIMATE PHYLOGENETIC TREE CONSTRUCTION

      Sood, Nitish; Mehra, Mehul; Department of Biological Sciences; University of California Berkeley; Bates, Christopher; Mittal, Anav; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Phylogenetic tree construction can be a particularly challenging and time-intensive process. This study employs a novel computational approach to phylogenetic tree construction, using the Alu repeating element, a SINE. Repetitive elements including Short and Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements (SINEs/LINEs) have successfully been applied as accurate tools for phylogenetic analysis, as they are predominately unidirectional and homoplasy-free. However, previous analysis of phylogenetic relationships using these repeating elements has been limited to a small number of isolated repeats among relatively few organisms. As a highly repetitive sequence, the Alu element and its associated subfamilies can provide detailed analysis on evolutionary divergence among species in the Order Primates. This study identified shared sequences as Alu repeating elements that were conserved in both location and base-pair sequence between the primate genomes of interest. These shared sequences, derived from the Genome Library at the University of California San Diego, were analyzed to construct individual phylogenetic trees for each of the 49 Alu subfamilies. As this method solely requires the sequence analysis of available primate genomes, this serves as a cheaper and more time-efficient approach to phylogenetic tree construction for the Order Primates relative to biochemical and anatomical analysis.
    • ADIPOSE HDAC9 DELETION PROTECT AGAINST DIET INDUCED OBESITY IN MICE THROUGH REGULATING ENERGY EXPENDITURE

      Hassan, Nazeera; Zarzour, Abdalrahman; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Medicine; College of Allied Health Sciences; Kim, Ha Won; Weintraub, Neal; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Our group has previously identified histone deacetylase 9 (HDAC9) as a regulator of adipocyte differentiation, and its expression levels were elevated in diet induced obese (DIO) mice.� We also reported that global HDAC9 deletion protected mice against DIO through promoting beige adipogenesis. Here, we hypothesized that adipose HDAC9 correlate with human obesity similar to murine models, and its deletion is sufficient to protect against DIO. To test this hypothesis we crossed HDAC9 floxed mice with adiponectin-cre mice to generate adipose-specific HDAC9 knockout mice (AdipCre-HDAC9), which exhibited 30% less weight gain when fed high fat diet compared to control despite increased food intake, in association with increased energy combustion & O2 consumption, improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. However, unlike global HDAC9 deletion, this was not associated with increased beige adipogenesis nor increase in brown adipose tissue function. Interestingly, AdipoCre-HDAC9 mice fed normal chow diet didn�t exhibit altered energy expenditure nor weight differences when compared to littermate controls. These finding suggest that adipose HDAC9 regulate energy expenditure in response to high fat diet and can be a promising therapeutic target to combat obesity.
    • SYNERGISTIC EFFECTS OF THE COMBINATION OF ERLOTINIB & EXO2 ON HEAD AND NECK CANCER

      Thakkar, Parth; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Oral Biology; Teng, Yong; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      More than 90% of head and neck cancer is head and neck squamous cell carcinoma1 (HNSCC). Currently, the treatment involves modern surgery, conventional chemotherapy, and radiation. However, targeting, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been shown to prove advantageous for patient survival. EGFR activation leads to cell cycle progression. Blocking the EGFR by an antibody results in the inhibition of the receptor, therefore inhibition of cell proliferation. This makes EGFR a prime target for anticancer therapy, specifically with tyrosine kinase inhibitors being looked at as a possible form of inhibition. The goal of this project was to hopefully use small molecule inhibitor EXO2 and an EGFR specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Erlotinib, in a synergistic manner to fight against HNSCC. This study was done using cell cultures, MTT assay�s and western blot techniques, with cell cultures being done using the H6 cell line. The results from this study were found to be a preliminary success and will pave the way for future experiments in this area.
    • AN EXAMINATION OF MORAL PANICS: HOW THE FEAR OF SATANISM AFFECTED TABLETOP ROLE PLAYING

      Williams, Travis; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Communication; Department of Anthropology & Philosophy; Johnson, Edgar; McClelland-Nugent, Ruth; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Moral panics around youth entertainment have been an occurrence as long as culture has been established. As long as youth entertainment has values that can be seen as going against the established values of the preceding generation, a moral panic could take place. The purpose of this research was to analyze how moral panics centered on youth entertainment begin and gain traction. To do this, the research was focused on the 1980s moral panic around tabletop roleplaying games, specifically�Dungeons & Dragons. By tracing the origin of the moral panic to the fear of cults and occult from the 1970s, we can find more context as to why some individuals believed that role playing games could cause adolescents to use the games as a style of dangerous escapism or as a gateway to the occult. To further understand this moral panic, an analysis of some of the major detractors of role playing games was done, as well as researching the role the media played in cultivating the moral panic. With a greater understanding on how moral panics begin and gain traction, this research can be used to compare and contrast other moral panics around youth entertainment.
    • DESIGN AND SYNTHESIS OF HYBRID CONJUGATES AS POTENTIAL ANTI-INFECTIVE AGENTS

      Littlefield, William E; Wade, Margaret; Makkanal, Tina; College of Science and Mathematics; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Panda, Silva; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Infectious diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms are major challenges despite all the steps taken to control or cure. New drug development with high efficacy/selectivity for infectious diseases is a point of interest for many researchers. It has reported that tuberculosis is one of the ten major causes of death in the world. Multi-drug resistance (MDR) is another major concern in bacterial and fungal infections. The present study deals with the development of new conjugates of pyrazinoic acid and isoniazid linked via an amino acid. The synthesized conjugates show promising and interesting results against a variety of microbial strains, tuberculous and non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Molecular modeling studies were used for understanding and validation of the experimental data.
    • EXAMINING THE EFFECTS OF AETOKTHONOS HYDRILLICOLA EXTRACT ON OXIDATIVE STRESS IN C6 CELLS

      Ward, Kayla; Department of Biological Sciences; Wiley, Faith; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Aetokthonos hydrillicola, a species of cyanobacteria, has colonized an invasive species of hydrilla in the lakes of the Southeastern United States. This cyanobacterium is suspected to cause Avian Vacuolar Myclinopathy (AVM). AVM is a neurological disease that affect birds. Bald eagles and American coots have been primarily studied and known to be affected by AVM. Symptoms of AVM consist of brain lesions, loss of basic motor skills, and the disease often leads to death. Extracts of A. hydrillicola are toxic to C6 cells, and this cell line is used as a model to examine the mechanism of toxicity. The aim of this research project is to understand the role of oxidative stress in A. hydrillicola cytotoxicity and determine if antioxidant compounds may protect the cells. Common oxidative stress inhibitors, Gingko biloba extract and selenium, have been tested in different concentrations in order to determine if oxidative stress is present and preventable. These compounds did not prevent toxicity in the C6 cells exposed to the cyanobacterial extracts. The presence of oxidative is currently being further investigated using a 2-7 dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA) assay, which indicates the presence of reactive oxygen species.
    • DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSGENIC ZEBRAFISH MODEL FOR INVESTIGATION OF THE FUNCTION OF MICROGLIA

      Sura, Survasha; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Biochemical and Molecular Biology; Georgia Cancer Center; Rajpurohit, Surendra K; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Zebrafish have emerged as a powerful model organism for elucidating the development and function of microglia. Generation of new transgenic reporter lines and imaging tools strengthen the zebrafish model in microglia study�in-vivo. The aim is to develop a novel compound transgenic line to study the inflammatory process mediated by NF-kB in microglia cells. This novel compound transgenic line will establish a new model for microglia study. To generate the novel compound zebrafish transgenic model for microglia, we are crossbreeding microglia transgenic line zebrafish (Tg(mpeg1:mCherry) with the NF-kB Tg(6xNFkB:EGFP) transgenic progeny. We first generate a heterozygous F1 progeny which will be bred to generate an F2 homozygous progeny. Once the F1 progeny of the Microglia-NfkB transgenic line is developed, they will be crossbred to develop the Homozygous compound transgenic line. Fluorescent Microscopy will be used to screen the larvae generated from the breeding events. By developing the compound transgenic line, we are optimizing microglia isolation and sorting methodology by using the related antibodies as the marker. The NF-kB microglia transgenic line will provide a unique platform for drug screening to address microglial based ailments, thus furthering the understanding and treatment of human disease.
    • VACCINE PROLIFERATION IN THE FACE OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY

      Sripathi, Nishita; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of History, Anthropology & Philosophy; Turner, Wendy; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Each newly conceptualized vaccine has faced the same arguments over the last two centuries. A detailed examination of these several vaccines and their influences on the public will hopefully provide a better understanding of why the same arguments against vaccines continuously come up, even though each vaccine becomes widely used and celebrated. I supported my analysis by examining modern vaccine case studies and how those results may or may not skew the public reaction. By focusing on these two areas of research, I tried to understand the reasons behind persisted vaccine apprehension, even though there have been multiple and well-supported conclusions that vaccines are essential to a healthy human population. Perhaps by understanding the public�s fear, I can one day suggest alternate methods of vaccine �roll out� and introduction to the public.
    • PIPER NIGRUM IN ALZHEIMER'S AND COGNITIVE DYSFUNCTION: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

      Jones-Asgill, Michael; Department of Kinesiology and Health Science; College of Nursing; Langley-Brady, Dawn; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S develops Alzheimer's dementia. Alzheimer's is a chronic brain disorder affecting approximately five million Americans. Alzheimer's is an irreversible form of dementia that progressively worsens memory and simple cognitive abilities. There is no known cure for Alzheimer's. Current treatment includes pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches (e.g. aromatherapy). Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from aromatic plants and is being explored in cognition studies.Piper nigrum or black pepper has cognitive-enhancing properties. The purpose of this project was to review the literature regarding the use of black pepper in Alzheimer's. PubMed, CINAHL, Ovid Medicine, and ProQuest databases were searched for peer-reviewed journal articles written in English and published since 2014 with the following keywords: Cognitive, essential oil,Piper nigrum, aromatherapy and Alzheimer's. Nine articles were found that met the literature review criteria three animal and six human studies. These studies established the effectiveness of black pepper essential oil for both improving function and reducing cognitive decline. These studies may open doors for aromatherapy research in Alzheimer's. Despite efficacy, the preferred administration method (inhalation or topical) is unclear.Piper nigrum essential oil can potentially change Alzheimer's patients disease trajectory and should be further studied.
    • PROFILING G PROTEINS USING BIOLUMINESCENCE RESONANCE ENERGY TRANSFER

      Farooq, Maheen; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology; Spencer, Angela; Lambert, Nevin; Okashah, Najeah; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      GPCRs are receptors that act in signal transduction pathways via guanosine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins). Extracellular ligands act on GPCRs resulting in activation of one or more G protein subtypes (Gs, Gi/o, Gq/11 and G12/13) affecting the concentration of intracellular second messenger molecules ultimately altering cellular function. Cellular responses to external signals are typically studied indirectly by measuring concentration changes in second messengers. However, this approach can be problematic as many GPCRs can activate multiple G protein subtypes, and many second messenger pathways engage in crosstalk. To address this issue, we used Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) to directly measure coupling between 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) receptors and different G protein family subtypes. We co-transfected cells with plasmid DNA encoding the 5-HT2B or 5-HT4 receptors fused to the bioluminescent protein nanoluciferase (NLuc) as well as plasmid DNA containing G protein subtypes fused to the fluorescent protein Venus. In BRET assays, we found that mGsq couples to 5-HT2B and mGscouples with 5-HT4 in response to 5-HT activation. These results are consistent with the literature. Interestingly, initial studies suggest that activated 5-HT4 shows secondary coupling to mGsi highlighting the potential novel signaling pathways that can be elucidated using this technique.
    • EVALUATION OF CANIS HAIR AS A POTENTIAL WILD PIG REPELLENT ON COWDEN PLANTATION, JACKSON, SC

      Hitchens, Samantha Rae; Department of Biological Sciences; Hull College of Business; Saul, Bruce; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) continue to have a destructive impact across the world. The uncontrolled spread of these intrusive animals has affected many cultures, making it important to develop management methods across many locales. Wild pigs are often hunted with dogs; however, this method may not be suitable or legal in all areas impacted by this animal. In consideration of this fact, along with the knowledge that pigs have a highly developed sense of smell, led us to the hypothesis: Can a natural scent function as a satisfactory pig repellant? Based upon our past testing trials of potential scents in the Savannah River swamp near Jackson, SC, dog hair appeared to have a potential effect. We designed this experiment to attract wild pigs into an area baited with corn, and subsequently applied dog hair to the same area. Trail cameras were used at study locations to observe the normal patterns of wild pigs before and after dog hair applications. We analyzed our data by noting the presence and absence of pigs throughout our study trials. Image totals were also examined to determine if the dog hair dissuaded the pigs from entering the area. Our results supported our hypothesis.
    • EFFECT OF GABAERGIC NEURONS IN SUSCEPTIBLE VERSUS RESILIENT MALE RATS TO PTSD

      Dixon, Rachel; Mandavilli, Rohan; Department of Phychological Sciences; Department of Biological Sciences; Departmetn of Pharmacology & Toxicology; Bunting, Kristopher M; Alexander, Khadijah; Vazdarjanova, Almira; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that can occur after a traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD exhibit extreme anxiety and learning and memory difficulties. Once exposed, 12-35% develop PTSD with women twice as likely to be affected than men. Our goal is to discover underlying mechanisms to prevent PTSD, as we investigate the relevance of glutamic acid decarboxylase positive (GAD+) neurons on susceptible (SUS) and resilient (RES) male rats. SUS and RES phenotypes were assessed using the highly advanced RISP protocol to reveal susceptibility to a PTSD-like phenotype. The increase of GAD+ cells in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) informs us that more GABAergic neurons are present, which can cause inappropriate recall. We will be examining if there is a difference in the number of GAD+ cells in the RES versus SUS male rats. To investigate, we used cryosectioned brains from SUS or RES rats. The brains were stained using immunohistochemistry to isolate the GAD+ neurons in the mPFC and were counted. The results of this experiment will be determined and examined at a later date closer to our presentation. We expect to see a SUS male rats to have a higher number of GAD+ neurons.