Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Biological Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 72 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Gregory Lnenicka

Committee Members

Melinda Larsen


circadian rhythms, hippocampus, Neurodegenerative, suprachiasmatic nucleus, Circadian rhythms, Hippocampus (Brain), Brain, Degeneration (Pathology)

Subject Categories

Biology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Circadian rhythms modulate body temperature, sleep-wake cycles and cognitive functions like learning and memory. Interestingly, patients suffering from neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s disease and brain insults like traumatic brain injury experience dysregulated circadian rhythms and learning and memory deficiencies as a symptom. The core molecular machinery that establishes these rhythms relies on the activation of positive and negative transcriptional-translational feedback loops within the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Subordinate circadian oscillators distributed throughout the peripheral and central nervous system follow the rhythmic activity of the SCN. One of these, the hippocampus, is mostly involved in regulating memory formation and recall. Experimental evidence indicates that in rodents, these skills are more or less pronounced at different times of day. Consistent with these findings, in vitro experiments in acute hippocampal slices show that Schaffer collaterals long-term potentiation (LTP), a well-studied cellular correlate of memory, also varies with time-of-day. What remains unknown are the cellular mechanisms that account for these effects. Future experiments are necessary in order to not only uncover those cellular mechanisms but additionally, in the longer-term, to ascertain the mechanism that leads to learning and memory deficiencies resulting from neurodegeneration.