Austin Tapp

By William & Mary

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Effects of Medial Prefrontal Cortical Administration 

The cognitive mechanisms underlying attention are a major research area because failures in attention occur in a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  Attention and cognitive abilities are reduced in these diseases due, in part, to a decrease in Orexin A, as well as a reduction in the expression of Orexin receptor 2.  Orexins are excitatory neuropeptides that come in two isoforms, Orexin A and Orexin B, and serve as ligands for the g-protein coupled receptors: orexin receptor 1 and 2 (OxR1 and OxR2).  OxR2 decline may be responsible, in part, for causing both cognitive and attentional decline in individuals who have conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or narcolepsy.  My research will focus on the attention-based deficit that occurs following the blockade of OxR2s in the medial prefrontal cortex.  I will be assessing the decisions of rats in multiple attention tasks after administration of TCS-OX2-29 into the left or right medial prefrontal cortex. A decrease in attention test accuracy should occur when TCS-OX2-29 is administered to the right medial prefrontal cortex, which has been shown to be particularly important for attention, compared with drug infusions into the left hemisphere or with saline infusions in either hemisphere. 

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