Date of Thesis

2010

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science

Major

Biology

First Advisor

Kathleen Creed Page

Keywords

Prenatal Dexamethasone, Glucocorticoids, Stress Challenge, Nonlinear Mixed Effects Modeling, Randomization Test

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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