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The Effects of Androgens on Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity in Male Mammals

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Title: The Effects of Androgens on Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity in Male Mammals
Author: Mendell, Ari Loren
Department: Department of Biomedical Sciences
Program: Biomedical Sciences
Advisor: MacLusky, Neil James
Abstract: This thesis investigates the effects of androgens on morphological aspects of hippocampal synaptic plasticity in male rats and non-human primates. It is well documented that gonadal steroid hormones have an important role in regulating cognitive function by modulating the structure of the hippocampus, a brain structure primarily involved in short-term memory. These hormones have also been implicated in the development of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and depression. However, the specific effects of androgens on hippocampal structure and synaptic signalling are relatively uncharacterized. In this thesis, experiments demonstrating the role of androgens on the remodeling of dendritic spines, spine synapses, and dendritic branching of hippocampal neurons are discussed. Additionally, experiments investigating androgenic effects on synaptic signalling pathways in cultured human neuroblastoma cells are presented. Overall, this thesis presents compelling evidence that the effects of androgens on hippocampal synaptic plasticity are much more complex than previously believed.
Date: 2014-07
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