Molecular basis of attractiveness
Tan, Sheng Wei
Date of Issue2015
School of Biological Sciences
Environmental enrichment (EE) has been shown to cause diverse effects, many of which affect the brain of an organism. This results in observable modifications in terms of physiology or behavior in the organism. Previous studies suggest EE influences even naturalistic hard-wired traits, such as increasing attractiveness of rats. However, molecular basis underlying this phenomenon is unknown. This study investigates this molecular basis of attractiveness by looking at two relevant systems, the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axes. HPG is involved in determining attractiveness and other reproductive functions. HPA, a stress response system, exerts its influence on attractiveness through interaction with HPG axis. Dorsalmedial Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus (VMHdm) and Ventrolateral Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus (VMHvl) are involved in HPA and HPG respectively. Expression of an early immediate gene like C-Fos was studied using immunofluorescence, indicating activation of region of interest in the brain. In this study, we observed basal HPG tone and HPA activity in response to immobilisation stress. However, the study showed no significant difference in activation of both regions of EE rats compared to their control counterparts. This study sheds some light on the complexity of the HPG-HPA relationship and its sensitivity to the environment, paving way for future studies.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University