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Investigating the sleep modulating effect of oxytocin in zebrafish models of autism. (360G-Wellcome-207210_Z_17_Z)

In this project I will test the hypothesis that oxytocin expression and development of oxytocin-expressing neurons are altered in zebrafish with mutations in the ASD risk genes cntnap2 and chd8. I hope to find evidence for the sleep modulating effects of oxytocin, and posit whether deficiencies in oxytocin signalling pathways may contribute to sleep disorders in autism mutants. I will examine oxytocin mRNA levels across the day/night cycle for both wild-type and mutant fish established in the Rihel lab. I will then analyse the pattern of oxytocin expression in the brains of mutant embryos and their wild-type siblings. From the findings in related studies with cntnap2 mutant mice and the Rihel lab zebrafish models of autism (see references [3] and [6]), I expect to see an alteration in the amount of oxytocin mRNA for day/night between the wild-type and mutant embryos, and a change in the number of neurons expressing oxytocin. If such changes are found, they could explain the sleep phenotype observed in cntnap2 autism mutants, and elucidate a link between neuronal circuit dysfunction and behavioural perturbation in this animal model.


27 Apr 2017

Grant details
Amount Awarded 0
Applicant Surname Hobbs
Approval Committee Internal Decision Panel
Award Date 2017-04-27T00:00:00+00:00
Financial Year 2016/17
Grant Programme: Title Vacation Scholarships
Internal ID 207210/Z/17/Z
Lead Applicant Miss Phoebe Hobbs
Planned Dates: End Date 2017-10-06T00:00:00+00:00
Planned Dates: Start Date 2017-08-07T00:00:00+00:00
Recipient Org: Country United Kingdom
Region Greater London
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