Alzheimer’s Disease is a highly prevalent neurodegenerative disease that impacts learning, memory, motor functions, and many other processes throughout the brain due to neuronal death. Research suggests several possible interacting factors that lead to neurodegeneration that include beta amyloid plaques, tau tangles, oxidative stress, and many more. Oxidative stress correlates with dysfunction at the cellular level and because of this, antioxidants have been commonly researched as a possible treatment for the disease. The current study sought to investigate the possible benefits of melatonin and environmental enrichment in a genetically manipulated rodent model, using the spatial Morris water maze. Overall, transgenic mice showed decreased learning compared with wildtype, in agreement with previous literature. Melatonin demonstrated efficacy as a possible treatment with decreased distance traveled in the MWM for both treated wildtype and transgenic animals. Regardless of genotype, animals treated with melatonin displayed improvement in the maze, perhaps buffering the natural occurrence of oxidative stress across the lifespan. Finally, the combination treatment of melatonin and environmental enrichment displayed promising early results. Transgenic animals treated in this group exhibited even further improvement in the maze compared with controls. With continued research, melatonin and environmental enrichment constitute considerations for future therapeutic use in the treatment of AD, as simple, easy to implement, support to the antioxidant system.


Stavnezer, Amy Jo


Neuroscience; Psychology


Animals | Behavioral Neurobiology | Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists | Nervous System Diseases | Other Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Alzheimer's disease, Melatonin, Oxidative Stress, Environmental Enrichment, Glymphatic system, Morris Water Maze, Amyloid beta

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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