Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2022

Thesis Advisor(s)

Linnaea Ostroff; Susan Buraceski

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Research Methods in Life Sciences


The lateral amygdala is a brain structure that plays an important role in regulating fear and anxiety. Some anxiety disorders are hypothesized to develop from failures in this local inhibitory circuit. Distinct populations of these inhibitory neurons express patterns of calcium- binding proteins and neuropeptides that suggest differences in functionality within the lateral amygdala. Furthermore, these patterns of expression are compared between male and female rats to identify sex differences in the lateral amygdala. Previous studies have reported sex differences in amygdala activation and connectivity, but very little is known about the sexual dimorphism of calcium-binding protein and neuropeptide expression. These cell-type markers can be identified through immunohistochemistry, in which a target protein is tagged with a primary antibody, which is itself tagged and visualized with a fluorescent secondary antibody. While previous studies have explored this question through double-labeling, this study is unique in that it investigates the expression of these proteins through serial multiplex labeling. The advantage to serial multiplex labeling is that a single neuron can be labeled for ten or more cell-type markers, while previous studies have only been able to examine two or three at a time. Characterization of these subpopulations lends to a greater understanding of how the lateral amygdala functions within the fear and anxiety circuit and how the rat model can be applied to human neurobiology.