Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Cliff Summers

Second Advisor

Kenneth Renner

Third Advisor

Lisa McFadden


Mood Disorder, Depression, Reproductive Cycling, Females, Research

Subject Categories

Animal Sciences | Biology | Laboratory and Basic Science Research | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Since women are almost twice as likely to develop major depression compared to men, research into this and other potentially debilitating mood disorders using behavioral studies should involve females despite hormonal, physiological, and potential behavior changes due to reproductive cyclicity. Until recently, most studies exclusively used males, thus limiting results of previous research to half of the population. Using adult female C57BL/6N mice as model organisms, we exposed them to novel forms of social stress across five days which encompassed the four-day estrous cycle to determine if the stages of the estrous cycle had an impact on behavior when they were exposed to social stress. Our results show that females in an earlier/pre-ovulation stage of the estrous cycle like proestrus display anti-depressive behaviors compared to mice in other stages. In contrast females in a later/post-ovulation stage like metestrus exhibit depressive behavior. Mood disorders can affect both males and females, so it is important to include females in research. However, our results suggest that use of females in behavioral studies, should consider reproductive cycling as an important variable.



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