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First Advisor

Elizabeth Flandreau


It is known that the brain and gut ‘talk’ to each other, which is important for both physical and mental health as shown by associations between metabolic syndrome and mental illness in humans. Neuropeptides found in both the brain and gut are active in this communication and may mediate links between stress, metabolism, and psychopathology. This study aims to determine whether single exposure to predator odor is able to produce long-term changes in the endocrine system as measured by plasma concentrations of the “stress hormone” corticosterone and “hunger hormone” ghrelin. Male and female mice were exposed to one hour of predator stress with blood collection 48 hours, 7 days, or 14 days later to assess concentration of the hormones. Body weight and food intake were also recorded throughout the study to determine the impact of stress on metabolic efficiency. Results from this study are important to better understand how stress can lead to both metabolic syndrome and/or mental illness.

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