The present study sought to determine a link between the estrogen fluctuation that occurs during pregnancy and the concentration of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) within the CA1 region of the hippocampus. In doing so, the goal of the study was to suggest a biological explanation for the changes in hippocampal function, particularly spatial memory, that occur following pregnancy. In order to achieve this, immunohistochemistry was performed with the intent of measuring ChAT levels in CA1 hippocampus. In general, hippocampal ChAT is correlated with memory, with higher concentrations of ChAT resulting in increased performance in memory tests. A difference in hippocampal ChAT concentration between two groups of rats, one group that gave birth to three litters and a virgin control group, would implicate pregnancy as a variable in hippocampal functioning and memory performance. However, the data gathered in this study did not produce any conclusive results, likely due to compromised brain tissue.


Stavnezer, Amy Jo




Behavioral Neurobiology | Cognition and Perception | Endocrinology | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience


Pregnancy, parity, acetylcholine, choline acetyltransferase, spatial memory

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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