Date of Award
Thesis (Access Restricted)
Master of Science
Charles D Blaha
J Gayle Beck
Although behavioral inflexibility and Purkinje cell loss are both well established in autism, it is unknown if these phenomena are causally related. Using a mouse model, we tested the hypothesis that developmental abnormalities of the cerebellum, including Purkinje cell loss, result in behavioral inflexibility. Specifically, we made aggregation chimeras (Lc/+↔+/+) between lurcher (Lc/+) mutant embryos and wildtype (+/+) controlembryos.Lurcher mice lose 100% of their Purkinje cells postnatally, while chimeric mice lose varying numbers of Purkinje cells. We tested these mice on the acquisition and serial reversals of an operant conditional visual discrimination, a test of behavioral flexibility in rodents. The findings suggest that developmental cerebellar Purkinje cell loss may affect higher level cognitive processes which have previously been shown to be mediated by the prefrontal cortex, and are commonly deficient in autism spectrum disorders.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Dickson, Price Evans, "Behavioral Flexibility in a Mouse Model of Developmental Cerebellar Purkinje Cell Loss" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2224.