Week 6- Experimental Design

May 15, 2022

Welcome back!
This week I worked on creating an experimental design with the graduate students that I work with. We started by analyzing previous research done on radicalization to determine the areas we wanted to target with this experimental design. We identified that the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and the temporal sulcus were the areas of the brain implicated in radicalization. In addition, we focused on the gene from last week called Monoamine Oxidase A (MAOA) (Alia-Klein et al, 2008; Buckholtz and Meyer-Lindenberg, 2008). We tried to structuralize our experimental design similar to a previous experiment done to analyze the effects of Chronic Partial Sleep Deprivation (Arora et al, 2021). In this experimental design, we wanted to simulate the conditions that can make someone susceptible to radicalism such as lack of positive parental attention, abusive childhood, and economic grievances. However, since we can’t indoctrinate mice with any views, we will use the MAO-A hormone secreted by the mice as a sign of neurological distress. The Postnatal Sprague Dowley Pup rats would be subjected to different adversities lasting for 10 h daily. This weekly schedule would then be repeated over 5 months to generate a Chronic Deprived Radical Model (CDRM). By the end of this, we would be able to check the MAO-A genetic marker and see if there is a change in one pup compared to the other ones in the litter.

The schedule would look like this:
Monday: In the third week the selected postnatal pup would be injected with corticosterone to prepare for isolation.
Tuesday: The pup would be deprived of food and water, be given damp bedding, and isolated from its siblings and mother.
Wednesday: The pup would be paired with a dominant male in the cage to experience social defeat.
Thursday: The pup would go through mild electric shock (higher intensity each week) and would now be given a limited amount of food to share with the dominant male.
Friday: The pup would get a cortisol injection, be alerted with a sharp bell sound, and get separated from the dominant male.
Saturday: The pup would now be paired with female rats and be deprived of water.
Sunday: The rat would be deprived of food and sleep while isolated.
At the end of every month, the MAOA gene would be measured in this pup compared to its siblings to see if there’s a change in the levels of secretion.
The same process would be repeated for 5 months.
Since the goal is to simulate an unstable environment to affect the brain elasticity, we could also reduce the individual procedures and see the results with only one thing, such as damp bedding.
Thank you and see you next week!

One Reply to “Week 6- Experimental Design”

  1. Luc M. says:

    Really fascinating procedures that you have come up with. It is interesting that you are testing multiple variables on the pup such as a dominant male and a lack of food. I look forward to hearing about your results! Is there anywhere in your procedure to measure the variable that has the strongest influence on MAO-A secretion levels?

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