All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jennifer S Pollock

Advisory Committee Members

Carmen De Miguel

Ashley Harms

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2022

Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Early Life Stress (ELS) refers to any process or event of chronic and/or sever stress that occurs early in an individual’s development; this can be spurred by environmental or behavioral cues and helps predict inflammation later1 in life. ELS is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other chronic conditions like depression. However, many of the physiological processes that lead to increased risk of chronic illness later in life have yet to be established or examined. The ELS mouse model is used to examine the unknown mechanistic links between childhood stress and risk for chronic disease in adulthood. To generate the mouse model for ELS, we combine maternal separation with early weaning (MSEW). A preliminary study by the Pollock and Harms labs showed an increased number of brain-associated macrophages (BAMs) in the ventral mid-brain of MSEW mice compared to normally reared (NR) mice. However, whether the BAMs migrated to this region from another part of the brain or through the vasculature remains unknown. Endothelial dysfunction is a possible mechanism linking ELS to CVD2. Since the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) is composed of endothelial cells, it should be examined for pathological signs of degradation like vascular permeability. To establish whether ELS induces increased vascular permeability in the brain, a fluorescent carbohydrate, FITC-Dextran, was intravenously injected into the MSEW and NR mice and the intensity of the marker was measured at the BBB and compared between the two ELS groups. If vascular permeability in the brain is increased in the MSEW group then I hypothesize that Early Life Stress in mice leads to increased Blood- Brain Barrier permeability in a sex-dependent manner.

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