Role of Microglia and Extracellular Matrix in Environmental Enrichment Loss

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Ria Parikh
Marissa Small
James Herman


By Ria Parikh, Neuroscience and English; Marissa Small, University of Cincinnati

Advisor: James Herman

Presentation ID: 138

Abstract: Psychological loss is a stressor that represents the removal of something beneficial. Examples include the loss of a job, health, or social relationships. We aim to investigate mechanisms of loss in rats. Male rats were divided into 3 groups: environmentally enriched (EE), enrichment removed (ER), and control (CON). EE and ER animals were housed in groups of 10 in large, multi-level cages with toys. After 4 weeks, ER animals were moved to single-housing for the remaining 2 weeks. Brains were sectioned and immunohistochemistry was run to examine targets of interest that emerged from previous bioinformatic analysis. Analysis was predominantly in the extracellular matrix of the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a known positive mediator of stress. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that ER increases the density and amount of perineuronal nets (PNNs) around inhibitory parvalbumin (PV) interneurons. PNNs can impair PV activity through both molecular and physical mechanisms, so this analysis could suggest a mechanism of impaired BLA signaling in ER loss-like behaviors. Psychological loss is a stressor relevant now, more than ever. These results offer insight into the effect of loss in a rat's brain, which could help us to better understand psychological loss in humans.

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Health and Well-Being