Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Brooke Schmeichel

Committee Members

Patrick Bradshaw, Cerrone Foster


Hypocretin/Orexin (HCRT) neurotransmission facilitates drug-seeking behavior. HCRT neurotransmission at HCRT-receptors 1 and 2 (HCRT-R1 and -R2, respectively) is implicated in addiction. During the shift to alcohol-dependency, adaptations in neurotransmitter systems occur in reward- and stress-related brain regions. Specifically, neurotransmission systems in the central amygdala (CeA) are modulated by alcohol drinking/exposure. Therefore, this study investigated Hcrtr1 and Hcrtr2 mRNA expression in the CeA of alcohol-dependent rats and in non-dependent controls during acute alcohol withdrawal. Fos mRNA expression in the CeA of alcohol-dependent and non-dependent rats was also determined to assess adaptations in neuronal activation. To our knowledge, this is the first study to utilize RNAscope to quantify Hcrtr1 and Hcrtr2 mRNA in a rodent model of alcohol dependence. However, Hcrtr1, Hcrtr2, and Fos mRNA levels were not found to be significantly different in alcohol-dependent rats compared to non-dependent controls, possibly due to the temporal dynamics of these neuroadaptations.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.