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Using EEG to Evaluate the Behavioral Effects of Benzodiazepines in Rhesus Monkeys

Live Date:4/13/2021

Start Time:11:00 AM EDT (North America)

Duration:60 minutes

Benzodiazepines are known to induce electroencephalography (EEG) changes in rodents and humans that are associated with distinct behavioral effects and have been proposed as quantitative biomarkers for GABAA receptor modulation. Specifically, central EEG beta and occipital EEG delta activity have been associated with anxiolysis and sedation, respectively. The extent to which nonhuman primates show the same dose- and topography-dependent effects remained unknown. Critically, rhesus macaques have been shown recently to share GABAA receptor subtype distributions in the brain that, unlike rodent species, align with human findings.

Lais Berro, PhD recently demonstrated that the benzodiazepine alprazolam induces dose- and topography-dependent EEG spectral power changes in rhesus monkeys. In this webinar, Dr. Berro will review the main behavioral models used in her laboratory to investigate the anxiolytic, sedative and abuse-related effects of benzodiazepine drugs. She will correlate her findings with recent data obtained using telemetry-based EEG recording, with the goal of promoting EEG evaluation in nonhuman primates as a valuable and translational model for studying benzodiazepine pharmacology.

Key learning objectives:

  • Gain a conceptual understanding of benzodiazepine pharmacology and GABAA receptor modulation
  • Become familiar with the main models used to investigate the behavioral effects of benzodiazepines in nonhuman primates
  • Learn the dose- and topography-dependent EEG spectral power changes induced by benzodiazepine drugs across species
  • Describe how benzodiazepine-induced EEG changes correlate with the different behavioral effects of these drugs

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Lais Berro, PhD


University of Mississippi Medical Center

Dr. Lais F. Berro has a Ph.D. Degree in Psychobiology, Division of Sleep Medicine, from Universidade Federal de São, Brazil. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she currently holds an Instructor position. Dr. Berro also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, in Brazil. She has a strong record of scholarly activity, having published over 50 peer-reviewed research papers, 5 book chapters, as well as multiple abstracts at national and international scientific meetings. Her long-term research interests involve the investigation of the mechanisms underlying the relationship between sleep and drug abuse. Specifically, her research goals are to (1) understand the mechanisms underlying the acute and chronic effects of drugs of abuse on sleep-wake cycles, (2) understand the effects of sleep-wake manipulations on the abuse-related behavioral effects of drugs of abuse, and (3) investigate the interactions between drugs of abuse (polydrug use) regarding their abuse- and sleep-related effects. A key component of her research program is a focus on translational drug discovery, with a long-standing goal of providing important information for discovery and development of safe and effective anti-addiction and sleep-aid medications.
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