Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Dr. Linda Watkins

Second Advisor

Dr. Heidi Day

Third Advisor

Dr. Andrew Kwilasz

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Christopher Link


Approximately half of individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) express cognitive deficits in the form of memory impairments. Recent research in rats attributes these impairments to pro-inflammatory cytokine induced inflammation in the hippocampus. Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 (TLR2/4) have been implicated as possible therapeutic targets for their probable role in propagating the inflammatory response of MS. Using experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) as a model, we investigated the effects of a TLR2/4 antagonist, (+)-naltrexone, on hippocampal IL-1β mRNA expression and related cognitive deficits. Treatment with (+)-naltrexone successfully blocked the increased IL-1β levels and prevented contextual long-term memory impairments induced by EAE. These findings provide the first evidence supporting TLR2/4 antagonism as an effective mechanism against EAE related memory deficits.