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MSc Exit Seminar-Troy Collins

September 20, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Adult Neurogenesis in Naked Mole-Rats: Time Course of Cell Maturation and The Effects of Social Novelty


Naked mole-rats are a one of the only eusocial mammalian species. Their complex social structure makes them a unique model for the study of interactions between adult neurogenesis and social behavior. However, foundational knowledge of how cells mature in this species has yet to be established. In this thesis, I explored the time course of maturation of newly born cells in neurogenic regions of the adult naked mole-rat brain. The data demonstrate that time to maturation in this species takes significantly longer than in rats and mice with the majority of newly born cells taking at least 5 months to reach maturity. Then, to test the hypothesis that cell proliferation is related to processing of social cues, I examined the effects of a novel social stimulus on cell proliferation in two subordinate subcastes: workers and soldiers. Soldiers produced more new cells in the subventricular zone than workers. Naked mole-rats exposed to a novel social stimulus had fewer new hippocampal cells, were more aggressive, and investigated the face and body of their counterpart more than those paired with a member of their own colony. Soldiers in novel pairs, but not workers, spent more time sniffing the genitals of their counterpart than those in familiar pairs. Thus, caste and social context play a role in the rate of proliferation and the behavior of naked mole-rats.

Supervisor:  Prof. Melissa Holmes


September 20, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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