Date Thesis Awarded

5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience

Advisor

Joshua Burk

Committee Members

Robert Barnet

Paul Heideman

Abstract

Orexins are neuropeptides that have been shown to have an association with processes such as stress and attention. However, limited studies have been done on orexin’s role in the intersection of stress and attention. In this experiment, Sprague Dawley rats were isolated at 21 postnatal days, isolated at 35 postnatal days, or placed into group-housing. Varying doses of orexin A or saline were administered intranasally into the rats. Their attentional performance was measured in a sustained attention task. An ANOVA was carried out on the hit rates, correct rejection rates, and omissions of socially isolated rats and group-housed rats. Intranasal orexin A did not significantly affect the attentional performance of either group-housed or isolated rats. There was no significant difference between the rates of hits or omissions between isolated rats and group-housed rats. However, isolated rats had significantly lower correct rejection rates than group-housed rats. These findings suggest that social isolation can cause attentional dysfunction, but intranasal orexin administration is insufficient to affect this dysfunction. Nonetheless, the study was limited in actually assessing the role of the orexinergic system in isolation-induced attentional dysregulation. Future studies should look at whether the orexinergic system is involved in this stress-induced attentional dysfunction, via the use of orexin receptor antagonists, and whether acute social isolation produces similar effects.

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