By Katie Warlick, Chloe Dishong, Jada Ramos, Olivia Asbell
Faculty Mentor: Professor Parrish Waters
Our experiment aims to explore the influence of habitat disruption and induced overstimulation on working and spatial memory in CD1 mice, and consequently, hippocampal Brain- Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels. We hypothesized that, because of the significance of the role of BDNF in the regulation of neuroplasticity, overstimulation onset by habitat disruption will result in diminished cognition, including working and spatial memory, and decreased intracellular output of hippocampal BDNF. Following a two-week acclimation period, the second of which we began habitat disruption, we conducted a behavioral testing paradigm on a group of ten CD1 mice (n=5) to assess working memory known as the Y-maze test. Contrary to our hypothesis, results showed that mice who were subjected to overstimulation induced by habitat disruption performed better in the Y-maze and displayed an enhanced capacity for working memory compared to the control mice, but the difference in BDNF concentration between groups was not statistically significant. We therefore retained the null hypothesis that overstimulation does not influence hippocampal BDNF levels in CD1 mice.