Ryan Jankord (Committee Co-Chair), Michael Leffak (Committee Member), Nicholas Reo (Committee Co-Chair)
Master of Science (MS)
While the neurotransmitter dopamine has been well-studied for its role in mood regulation and activation of the intrinsic reward pathway, several psychiatric disorders linked to dopamine are also known to cause memory impairment, a phenomenon which has attracted much less attention. In the current study, whole-transcriptome RNA sequencing was performed, and transcript levels of several dopamine-related genes were compared to results of behavioral assays designed to test spatial and emotional memory, as well as anxiety. The results suggest a positive relationship between expression level of Nurr1, a nuclear receptor known to initiate transcription of genes necessary for dopaminergic signaling, and both emotional and spatial memory. However, no correlation was observed between expression of tyrosine hydroxylase, dopamine transporter, or any variant of dopamine receptor, and any of the behavioral results. These results are consistent with previous research findings that Nurr1 plays a role in memory consolidation, and suggests a dopamine-independent regulation.
Department or Program
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Year Degree Awarded
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