Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Integrative Physiology

First Advisor

Monika Fleshner

Second Advisor

Heidi Day

Third Advisor

Christopher Lowry


Serotonin (5-HT) is implicated in stress-related mood disorders, like anxiety and depression. Exercise reduces the risk of developing these disorders. In rats, 6 weeks of wheel running protects against stress-induced anxiety and depression-like behaviors. One way exercise could generate stress-resistance is through producing plasticity in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), a brain region with high concentrations of 5-HT neurons. The goal of this experiment was to identify changes in the expression of genes in the DRN that could be novel targets of exercise-induced stress resistance. Affymetrix microarray and laser capture microdissection were used to assess the effect of exercise and stress on mRNA expression in the DRN. Physically active rats have a more active and more strongly coordinated response to stress. Overall, an inflammatory theme was present suggesting an effect of exercise or stress on inflammatory-related processes. The genes Tdo2 and TGF-β1 may have important roles in exercise-induced stress resistance.

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Neurosciences Commons