Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dr. Robert K. Dearth
Dr. Mario Gil
Dr. Nirakar Sahoo
Neurogenesis is a critical component of fetal neurodevelopment consisting of: migration, proliferation and differentiation. Health concerns from anxiety to reproductive issues have been linked to alterations of neurogenesis processes. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can mimic hormones vital to this process, potentially adversely affecting the susceptible fetal brain. One EDC, Levonorgestrel (LNG), is a testosterone-like progestin used in birth control methods that has a high bioavailability and long half-life. Using zebrafish embryos as a model, this lab previously discovered that an environmentally relevant LNG dose (5 ng/L) significantly increased anxiety behaviors. The hypothalamus is responsible for the development of behavior and puberty and is rich in steroidogenic receptors. Thus, I sought to determine if the behavioral changes were linked to neural changes in the hypothalamus. The present study reveals that LNG exposure before zygotic transcription until post fertilization day 5 increases neural differentiation that can be linked to behavioral changes.
Hinojosa, Gabriella, "Assessing the Effects of Levonorgestrel (LNG) on Neural Differentiation in the Developing Hypothalamus Using the Zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a Model" (2022). Theses and Dissertations - UTRGV. 1054.