By Mary Zagrobelny, Bradley Torrington, Olayemi Fadahunsi, Laiba Murad
Faculty Mentor: Professor Parrish Waters
Cat odors serve as stressful stimuli for mice, leading to profound anxiety-like behaviors (ALB). These ALB are possibly the result of decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the amygdala. Although the anxiogenic effects of cat odors have been established extensively, the relationship between long-term cat urine exposure and amygdalar BDNF levels has yet to be studied. To explore this relationship, we conducted a 21 day experimental study, in which mice were intermittently exposed to urine-soiled cat litter. Our study determined that long term intermittent cat urine exposure induced ALB in mice, which were negatively correlated with amygdalar BDNF levels. However, we observed no significant changes in the amygdalar BDNF levels in response to stress.