Extreme or chronic stressors can alter hormone concentrations and change brain physiology of the developing fetus thus affecting behavior and cognitive functioning. One way to prevent or mitigate deficits associated with stress are through antioxidant supplementation. Exogenous antioxidants have been shown to have protectant cellular effects that regulate impaired behavior and cognition. The current study aimed to look at the effects that an antioxidant supplement, Protandim has on behavior and cognition of prenatally stressed rodents. It was hypothesized that the antioxidant components of Protandim would repair the HPA axis changes and regulate oxidative stress of the prenatally stressed rodents, thus regulating behaviors like anxiety and depression as well as improving cognitive function. The current study stressed female rodents during the third trimester of pregnancy in order to induce prenatal stress in the offspring. Once weaned from their mother, rodents were treated with Protandim over the course of eight weeks and behavior and cognition were assessed using three paradigms. The Y maze assessed working memory while the forced swim test and elevated plus maze measured aversive behavior such as depressive and anxiolytic behavior. Results from this study demonstrated variable effects of prenatal stress, but consistent effects for Protandim. Rodents treated with Protandim demonstrated enhanced memory and increased activity levels. Although this study was not able to demonstrate alleviating effects of Protandim on prenatal stress it provides evidence that Protandim has potential health benefits and should be further studied to explore these benefits.


Stavnezer, Amy Jo




Cognitive Neuroscience

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2019 Jordan F. Murray