Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

87

Date

2010

Date of Award

7-14-2010

Document Type

Thesis (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Psychology

Concentration

Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Guy Mittleman

Committee Member

Charles D Blaha

Committee Member

J Gayle Beck

Abstract

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.

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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