Anna Healy



Document Type



Methylazoxmethanol Acetate (MAM) is a toxin that temporarily blocks mitosis in developing embryonic brains. Exposure in rats on embryonic day 17 (E17) selectively targets frontal and hippocampal regions of the brain and produces behavioral and anatomical effects strikingly similar to those seen in human patients with schizophrenia. While previous studies examining these induced neuroanatomical disruptions support E17 MAM exposure as an animal model of schizophrenia, the vast majority focused on male rats. However, there have been a dearth of studies specifically looking at female rats in this model. This is significant since there is evidence of sex differences in the onset and symptomologies in humans with schizophrenia. The current study utilized volumetric analysis and point counting on pre-sliced rat brain tissue to determine anatomical differences in the size and overall volume of the frontal cortical areas in female rats exposed to the MAM toxin on E17. We found significant decreases in the brain weights (p < .05), body weights (p < .05), and volume of the frontal cortical areas (p < .05) in female rats exposed to MAM on E17. These results indicate that the MAM group expressed lower brain volume in the frontal cortical areas than the saline-treated control group. In future studies, this data can be compared to male rats to examine sex differences in MAM exposure.



Thesis Comittee

Prof. Stephanie Penley, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Michael Root, Committee Member

Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown, Committee Member

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.