Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Nicole Ashpole

Second Advisor

Jason Paris

Third Advisor

Kristine Willett

Relational Format



Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a neuroendocrine signaling hormone that plays an integral role in bone and tissue growth and development. Inhibition of this hormone is known to disrupt the chemistry of the brain, resulting in cognitive impairments such as those seen in many common neurodegenerative diseases. While much research has been conducted on neurons and their relation with IGF-1, the role of astrocytes still needs to be explored. Our research investigates how astrocytes are affected as a result of IGF-1 regulation. Preliminary studies in our laboratory established a connection between IGF-1 and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and in this study we focused on understanding these changes in GFAP expression and astrocyte structure. We hypothesized that the mice lacking IGF-1 or its receptor, IGFR, would have increased number and size of GFAP positive (GFAP+) cells in the hippocampus, which is associated with cognitive dysfunction. The value of this research can be noted in its efforts to increase the understanding of astrocytes, a group of cells that contribute significantly to the maintenance of the brain’s environment and cognitive function. By investigating how astrocytes respond to particular changes, we will be clarifying aspects of an under-researched group of cells that have an undeniably important role in cognitive dysfunction.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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