Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

2493

Date

2015

Date of Award

12-2-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Psychology

Concentration

General Psychology

Committee Chair

Charles D Blaha

Committee Member

Helen J.K. Sable

Committee Member

Frank Andrasik

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by motor impairments and deficits in social communication potentially stemming from cerebellar Purkinje cell loss and dysfunction. Recent mapping of glutamatergic and dopaminergic pathways has provided evidence that degeneration of Purkinje cells coincides with attenuated dopamine (DA) release in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) via the cerebello-thalamo-PFCpathway. As patients with ASD exhibit repetitive behavior, abnormal reward processing, and lack of planning ability, it appears the effects of neuropathology in the cerebellum extend to the nigrostriatal pathway. Using fixed-potential amperometry and electrical stimulation of cerebellar nuclei, we investigated the possibility that the cerebellum modulates DA release in the dorsomedial striatum, and additionally that this system is dysfunctional in rodent models of autism. Comparisons of Fragile-X mutant and wildtype mice revealed that the cerebellum directly modulates the nigrostriatal system in both strains, with no differences in functionality of DAsignaling in the dorsomedial striatum.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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