Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)


Biomedical Sciences

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Michelle Chandley

Committee Members

Jonathan Peterson, Diego Rodriguez-Gil


The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is part of the cognitive and emotional brain circuitry that mediates social interaction. Imbalances between inhibitory, GABAergic neurons, and excitatory, glutamatergic neurons, in this region are essential to brain circuity during social responses and are thought to be involved with behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Enriched cell populations of glutamatergic neurons, obtained through laser capture microdissection, were used for gene expression studies of GABAergic receptors (GABRA1, GABRA4, and GABBR1). Additionally, proteins that impact GABAergic synapses (Spinophilin, CPLX1, mTOR, IGF1R, PSD95, PARP1) were investigated using Western Blotting with punchdissected homogenate brain tissue from ACC and frontal cortical brain regions. No significant differences in gene expression nor protein were identified between ASD and control brain donors. Evidence of GABAergic synaptic pathology was not found; however, future studies of alternative GABAergic markers and increased study numbers are needed to confirm these findings in ASD human tissue.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.