Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Biomolecular Sciences

First Advisor

Nicole Ashpole

Relational Format



Neurodegenerative diseases are caused by various underlying mechanisms within the nervous system. Excitotoxicity is a hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases, and is produced by over excitation of glutamate receptors on neurons, ultimately leading to cell death. Protein aggregates and oxidative stress have also induced neuronal cell death that lead to many neurodegenerative diseases as well. Many compounds isolated from plants have shown protective ability against these underlying toxicity mechanisms. In this study, we tested several cannabinoid and anthyocanin-based small molecules protective abilities against excitotoxicity. We found several compounds that protected against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity in a concentration-dependent manner. We also tested whether cannabinoid-based small molecules could protect against protein aggregate and oxidative stress toxicity, although our assays require further validation. We are now working on creating concentration-dependent response curves for the anti-oxidant based small molecules against excitotoxicity. Future application of these findings would include administering the neuroprotective compounds to animals to prevent neurodegeneration and its accompanying behavioral deficits.

Included in

Biology Commons



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