ROLE OF PARTURITION ON BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Cell death peaks around the time of birth in several brain regions of the mouse. In addition, preliminary data show that natural (vaginal) birth might be important for the normal course of cell death because Cesarean born mice have increased cell death in several brain regions compared to vaginally born mice. Birth entails a dramatic entry to the world and, in preparation, key peripheral organs (e.g., lungs, gut, and heart) undergo physiological changes. We hypothesize that birth is also an important event in brain development. In this project, we are studying how birth influences cell death in the brain by manipulating the timing or mode of birth in mice. We are also interested in identifying mechanisms underlying cell death at birth, as well as exploring additional effects of birth on brain development and behavior.