Date of Thesis

2010

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Kathleen Creed Page

Abstract

Dexamethasone is routinely administered to women at risk for a preterm birth in order to enhance fetal lung development and reduce uterine contractions. Research has demonstrated possible behavioral abnormalities in adulthood as a result of dexamethasone treatment. Using nonlinear mixed effects modeling, this study found thatprenatal dexamethasone treatment impaired spatial learning and memory of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Prenatal dexamethasone treatment also led to more anxiety related behaviors on Elevated Plus Maze testing 1.5 hours after a stress challenge. Because theassumptions underlying the independent samples t-test were violated, the randomization test was used to compare groups on the Elevated Plus Maze.

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