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Does maternal ingestion of Mycobacterium vaccae epigenetically effect offspring anxiety in mice?
Date(s) 03/27/2017 - 4:00 p.m.
Location Donahue Auditorium, Gordon Science Center
Presenter Susan Jenks, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Biology, The Sage Colleges, Albany, NY
Description Does maternal ingestion of Mycobacterium vaccae epigenetically effect offspring anxiety in mice?

Previous research (Matthews and Jenks, 2013) indicated that ingesting nonpathogenic Mycobacterium vaccae reduced anxiety behavior and facilitated maze learning in mice, likely due to neuroimmune activation of serotonergic pathways in the brain. These results give support to the "Old Friends Hypothesis" of neuroimmune development. We are examining two additional questions: 1) Can M. vaccae epigenetically influence behavioral development and 2) Will M. vaccae influence anxiety-related behavior and facilitate learning in an autism model mouse strain (BTBR)? We hypothesize that exposure of pre-pregnant, pregnant and lactating mice to M. vaccae will reduce anxiety-related behaviors in offspring during open field and complex maze testing. We hypothesize that M. vaccae will reduce anxiety-related behavior in BTBR mice. For the epigenetic study we bred mice in house and treatment females were exposed, by ingestion, to M. vaccae before conception, and during mating, pregnancy, and lactation.. Immediately after weaning (22 days old), mothers and offspring were tested in the Open Field to examine anxiety and exploratory behavior. At days 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60 mature offspring were tested in the Complex Maze to investigate anxiety and maze learning. For the autism model mouse study we followed the previously published protocol of M. vaccae administration and investigated behavior in the complex maze, zero maze, burying test, and social interaction test, as well as analyzing fear vocalizations. Our preliminary findings reveal that M. vaccae differentially effects anxiety-related behavior in BTBR mice depending on test context and reveals the complexities of potential epigenetic effects interacting with sex and age.

The Asa Gray Seminar Series is sponsored by the Asa Gray Biological Society, and is the longest running seminar series at Utica College. Scientists are invited from throughout the region to present seminars on their ongoing research. All lectures are held in Donahue Auditorium, Gordon Science Center, at 4:00 p.m. An informal reception immediately follows. Call (315) 792-3028 for more information.
Cost Free

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