Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Leah Chase, Biology and Chemistry

Document Type


Event Date



An estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some point during their lifetime. While the prevalence of bipolar disorder is similar among males and females, it is becoming increasingly obvious that symptoms and comorbidities of the disorder can vary widely between men and women. Recent research has shown that men diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more likely to exhibit alcohol use disorders and obsessive compulsive behaviors while women have a higher incidence of panic disorder comorbidity. In order to develop effective treatment for the disorder, it is important to use an animal model that reflects these sex-dependent differences. Growing evidence suggests that alterations in glutamatergic neuronal signaling may be associated with bipolar disorder. Homocysteic Acid (HCA) is a glutamate analog and has been reliably demonstrated to induce a mixed manic/depressive state in rats when administered during a critical phase in development (P3-P21). However, the animal model has not been assessed for sex dependent comorbidities. Given this, the present study aimed to replicate findings from previous studies of the HCA animal model, while also investigating the effects of HCA on alcohol use, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and measures of stress in a sex dependent manner. Collectively, this study will allow us to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the ability of the HCA animal model to replicate the complex phenotype of bipolar disorder.


Funding provided by the Hope College Neuroscience Program.