Structural changes in dendritic spine morphology in early co-morbid behaviours in a mouse model of MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a devastating disease usually characterized by its physical symptoms caused by central nervous system inflammation and demyelination. Behavioral and cognitive co-morbid symptoms frequently afflict those living with MS and precede the onset of physical symptoms. This suggests these co-morbidities may be caused by a mechanism independent of demyelination. Structural changes in small projections extending off of dendrites (dendritic spines), the post-synaptic portion of a synapse, may underlie the functional deficits in behaviour and cognition seen in MS. Spines will be imaged from the mouse basolateral amygdala due to its regulation of anxiety, emotionality and fear memory, which coincide with the observed co-morbid symptomology. Dendritic spines will be measured using ImarisTM software to separate spines into three groups: thin, mushroom or stubby, based on the ratio of spine diameter to spine length. It is hypothesized that at day 7 post induction, to correlate with the onset of co-morbid symptoms, there will be a pronounced shift in spine morphology from more infantile (thin) classifications to more mature (mushroom) structures. This research aims to examine dendritic spine morphological changes as a potential mechanism for the onset of co-morbid symptoms in individuals afflicted with MS.
* Indicates faculty mentor.