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Treatment of traumatic memories with adrenoceptor antagonists and possible implications in anxiety disorders
Portugal (PorMSIC) . Univesity of Porto - Biomedical Sciences Institute Abel Salazar, Porto
Department of Imuno-Physiology and Pharmacology
Paula Ferreira da Silva
Mónica Moreira Rodrigues
English, Spanish, Portuguese
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
In anxiety disorders contextual factors contribute to fear generalization, traumatic memory retrieval and relapse after exposure therapy. The mechanisms that underlie the recovery of emotional associations due to context may have implications for the study and treatment of anxiety disorders. In addition, these patients show an increase of stress hormones, namely catecholamines. Specifically, post-traumatic stress disorder is a common anxiety disorder and persistent hyperactivity of the autonomic sympathetic system was detected in these patients.
What is the aim of the project?
Our aim is to evaluate behavior and related mechanisms in mice with anxiety disorders treated with adrenoceptor agonists, antagonists and other treatments.
What techniques and methods are used?
Handling and simple manipulation with experimental mice. Behavioral tests (fear conditioning, open field, elevated plus maze, forced swim test, light-dark transition…). Imunohistochemistry. Quantification of catecholamines by HPLC-ED: the catecholamines present in plasma, liver, heart, prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala will be concentrated by alumina method and injected and separated by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and quantified by electrochemical detection. Evaluation of specific mRNA by RT-PCR: Total RNA isolation will be carried out with the illustra™ Isolate II RNA Mini Kit. Concentration and purity of the isolated RNA will be measured using the NanoDrop 2000 spectrophotometer. Reverse transcription will be was performed in a T100 TM Thermal Cycler using a Reverse Transcription kit. qPCR reactions will be were carried out in StepOne TM real-time PCR System. Gene-specific primers, Maxima SYBR Green qPCR Master Mix, RNase- free H 2 O will be mixed and cDNA will be added.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- If the project includes “lab work”
- the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Initially all procedures will be under the tutor’s supervision. Afterwards, the student will do on his own simple manipulations with mice, simple parts on behavioral tests (fear conditioning, open field, elevated plus maze, forced swim test, light-dark transition…), analysing data, graphic representation of results, statistical analyses, solutions preparations, quantification of catecholamines by HPLC-ED and a brief PowerPoint presentation of results during the exchange.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Initially the student will read papers/manuscripts/protocols. This will be provided by the tutor in the beginning of each task.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Knowledge in physiology and pharmacology.
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
- Alves E; Lukoyanov N; Serrao P; Moura D; Moreira- Rodrigues M (2016) Epinephrine increases contextual learning through activation of peripheral beta2- adrenoceptors.
- Psychopharmacology (Berl) 233: 2099-108. Sherin JE; Nemeroff CB (2011) Post-traumatic stress disorder: the neurobiological impact of psychological trauma. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience 13: 263-278.
- Toth M; Ziegler M; Sun P; Gresack J; Risbrough V (2013) Impaired conditioned fear response and startle reactivity in epinephrine-deficient mice. Behav Pharmacol 24: 1-9.
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