Maria Krassnitzer, MSc
Department(s): Department of Molecular Neurosciences (Center for Brain Research)
Position: PHD Student
Location: Spitalgasse 4
The pancreas is known as the key regulator of blood glucose homeostasis by secreting either insulin from beta-cells or glucagon from alpha-cells of which both cell types are part of the so called islet of Langerhans. Psychostimulants are postulated to affect monoamine signalling in the nervous system. Much less is known about adverse effects of illicit drug on peripheral organs and if in utero exposure can induce lifelong pathologies. It was shown that serotonin is stored within insulin granules and subsequently secreted with them. I aim to confirm the existence of the serotonergic machinery in β-cells of different developmental stages.
Via immunhistochemistry I will examine tissue of neonatal and adult offspring prenatally exposed to saline or drug to discriminate between the number of β and α- cells within the islets. Further I will measure immunoreactivity of 5-HT and insulin of in utero psychostimulated offspring. Next to this I will perform a glucose tolerance test (GTT) with 6-week old offspring prenatally exposed to psychostimulants or saline to reveal effects on an adequate insulin secretion. To identify 5-HT receptors on mRNA level within or around islets I will take advantage of in situ hybridization.
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