Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Implications of VGluT2 and VGaT from VTA Neurons in the Consequences of Uncontrollable Stress Public Deposited

  • Stressors often play a fundamental role in both the genesis or exacerbation of many psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Elements of stressful experiences have been linked to distinct neurons within a cellularly heterogeneous brain region called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Recently, glutamate neurons (defined by the presence of the vesicular glutamate transporter, VGluT2+) in this region have been causally linked to certain depressive behaviors that follow stress experience. However, VTA VGluT2+ neurons are not a uniform population. There are neurons within the VTA that co-express the machinery to produce and release multiple neurotransmitters, such as glutamate (indicated by VGluT2+) and GABA (indicated by vesicular GABA transporter, VGaT+) from the same cell body. This project selectively removed either VGluT2 or VGaT from the VGluT2+VGaT+ co-expressing population to determine the necessity of each neurotransmitter in preventing stress-induced behavioral changes in male mice and female mice. Selective removal of VGluT2 from this co-expressing population was stress protective in male but not female mice. Removal of VGaT was not stress protective in either male or female mice. This suggests both a sex specific difference in stress neurochemical signaling within VTA VGluT2+ VGaT+ neurons and also highlights the importance of glutamatergic transmission for the production of stress induced behavioral changes

Date Awarded
  • 2023-10-30
Academic Affiliation
Granting Institution
Last Modified
  • 2023-11-08
Resource Type
Rights Statement


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