Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Advisor

Crawford, Cynthia

Second Advisor

McDougall, Sanders

Third Advisor

Butt, Allan


The purpose of the current study was to determine if rat pups treated with amphetamine (AMPH) during a critical time of hippocamal development would exhibit deficits in spatial learning and memory when tested in the Morris water maze during adolescence. Exposure to amphetamine during early postnatal development induces long-term reductions in protein kinase A (PKA) activity. Because PKA activity is known to regulate the production of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and reductions in BDNF are associated with memory deficits, it was hypothesized that early exposure to amphetamine would lead to declines in both BDNF levels and memory performance. The present study was the first to examine the effect of AMPH on spatial memory and BDNF and tyrosine kinase receptor(TrkB) levels during early postnatal development. This study supports the idea that low doses of AMPH for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in young children are relatively safe, as there were no neurochemical deficits found, and behavioral changes were only seen at the highest dose used (20 mg/kg).