Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Michelle J. Chandley

Committee Members

Ranjan Chakraborty, W. Andrew Clark


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by social deficits and repetitive actions. A communication pathway exists between the brain and gut called the gut-brain axis. It is thought that gut bacteria can secrete signaling molecules, triggering inflammation across the body. These studies attempt to determine if markers are expressed in two mouse models of ASD behaviors, BTBR and a valproic acid model. Immunohistochemistry of ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 from male mouse brain tissue showed no microglial activation in any group. Cytokine analysis did exhibit an increase in interleukin 1 (IL-1) in male adult mice only. Sequencing of bacterial profiles demonstrated differences between groups. Altogether, it appears that microbiome differences do not trigger robust differences in inflammatory pathways in these animals in this study. It is imperative that a reliable animal model of behaviors be identified for novel studies that can impact the development of the disorder.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.