The Effects of Serotonin Depletion on AMPA Receptor Expression within Rat Amygdala
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Although anxiety disorders act as a prevalent source of American morbidity, the cellular mechanisms underlying the heightened fearfulness are largely unknown. While the amygdala is understood to play a substantial role in the development of fear, additional research is necessary, in order to investigate the specific neurobiological mechanisms involved. Both decreased levels of serotonin and increased AMPA receptor expression have been linked to neuronal excitability. Therefore, this thesis seeks to investigate the relationship between serotonin depletion and altered AMPA receptor expression within the amygdala. Rats received 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) lesions to the amygdala. Then, brain samples were taken, and Western blot procedures were followed. After incubating the membranes in primary and secondary antibodies, the blots were visualized, and the immunoreactive bands were quantified densitometrically. Changes in protein expression were compared, in order to investigate the hypothesis that the 5,7-DHT-treated animals would show increased levels of AMPA receptor expression.