Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Michelle Chandley

Committee Members

Gregory Ordway, Matthew Zahner


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting social behaviors. ASD affects 1 in 59 children with males affected more frequently. ASD is postulated to result from excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission imbalances. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling affects ASD by influencing synaptogenesis, plasticity, and survival. Studying early in-utero neuropathological changes within ASD requires the use of animal models. Expression of BDNF-associated genes were analyzed within laser capture microdissected pyramidal neurons from the anterior cingulate cortex of male and female BTBR and valproic acid mouse models. No expression differences were found in any gene comparing the three groups. Gender comparisons did identify differences in NTRK2 and EFNB2. Significant correlations of gene expression were identified for male NTRK2 with EFNB2 and GRIN1 and EFNB2 with GRIN1 and female BDNF with GRIN1 expressions (p

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.