Sex hormones effects on behavior and cognition
Serbia (IFMSA-Serbia) - University of Belgrade, Belgrade
Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Institute of Medical Physiology "Richard Burian", Belgrade University Faculty of Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia, Visegradska 26/II 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Assist. Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Rasic Markovic MD, PhD
Assist. Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Rasic Markovic MD, PhD, Prof. Dr. Olivera Stanojlovic, MD, PhD, Assist. Prof. Dr. Dragan Hrncic, MD, PhD, dr Nikola Šutulović
4 weeks
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Prenatal exposure to excess testosterone (T) during fetal life induces virilization and behavioral masculinization in the female offspring. Studies have shown that exposure to T excess during fetal life induces reproductive neuroendocrine, ovarian, and metabolic defects in the female offspring, characteristics also seen in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Gonadal hormones play an important role in the development of the brain, behavior and cognition. changes in spine density, number of synapses and spatial memory are associated with chronic changes in gonadal hormone levels in both male and female rodents, and these effects result from genomic changes mediated by estradiol binding to classic estrogen receptors.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim of this project is to examine the effect of steroid hormones on CNS excitability, behavior and metabolic parameters in female rats.
What techniques and methods are used?
This study includes variety of common neurophysiologic methods and techniques. Particularly, 1) Obtaining a vaginal Smear by lavage. Samples are collected with eyedroppers. Eyedropper tips should be smooth and tapered. If a single dropper is used for more than one animal, it should be thoroughly rinsed between lavages to remove any residual cells from the dropper wall. The dropper only need contain a small volume (0.2–0.25 ml) of saline or distilled water for flushing. Smears can either be evaluated immediately, fresh and unstained, or fixed, dried, and stained for subsequent examination and storage; 2) Identification of vaginal cytology. Although a characterization of the vaginal smear. Phases of the estrous cycle can be detected by observing behavioral changes or examining vaginal cytology. Accurate phase identification depends on smears taken at fixed times in the day, as the cell populations vary throughout a 24-h period. Phases of estrous cycle are as follows: proestrus, estrus, metestrus, diestrus; 3) Elevated plus maze. The standard elevated plus-maze is commonly used to assess anxiety-like behaviour in laboratory animals. The maze is usually a cross shaped maze with two open arms and two closed arms, which is elevated above the floor. This task exploits the conflict between the innate fear that rodents have of open areas versus their desire to explore novel environments. Security is provided by the closed arms whereas the open arms offer exploratory value.
What is the role of the student?
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Accepted students will be involved in regular laboratory team-building meetings, M&T discussions, in-ward journal clubs and national scientific meetings if available during their stay. Selected students will be a part of the research team and be in charge for certain responsibilities depending on their abilities, previous experience and attitudes. They will be directly included in performance of certain techniques and methods and responsible for part of the experimental work, including recorded behavioral data analysis, EEG signal analysis, etc. Wide range of common neurophysiology methods and techniques will be on disposal for work on. Particularly, students will have chance to gain skills on computerized video behavioral monitoring, assessing estrus phase in female rats , as well as to develop their scientific writing skills and application of statistical analysis.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Theoretical introduction will be provide. Introductury leacture as well as disscussions on the topic will be arranged. Theoretical background of each method used will be clearly presented. Students are intended to participate in inward Lab journal clubs.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster
- The student will prepare a presentation
- The student will prepare a scientific report
- The student will prepare an abstract
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Manual dexterity is welcome. Basic knowledge of neurophysiology, neuroendocrinology and pharmacology are needed.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Students in biomedical fields
- Goldman JM; Murr AS; Cooper RL. The rodent estrous cycle: characterization of vaginal cytology and its utility in toxicological studies.Birth Defects Res B Dev Reprod Toxicol. 2007 Apr;80(2):84-97. Review.
- Dubrovsky BO. Steroids; neuroactive steroids and neurosteroids in psychopathology. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Feb;29(2):169-92.
- Tyndall V1; Broyde M; Sharpe R; Welsh M; Drake AJ; McNeilly AS. Effect of androgen treatment during foetal and/or neonatal life on ovarian function in prepubertal and adult rats. Reproduction. 2012 Jan 1;143(1):21-33. doi: 10.1530/REP-11-0239.