Investigating the Effects of Environmental enrichment on a Drosphilia Model of Tau Toxicity


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive brain disorder that is characterized by impairment of memory. Much of the research conducted into the cause of AD suggests that this disease results from an increase in neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which are composed of the microtubule-associated protein called tau. These tangles lead to regional cell death, and are particularly prominent in the cortex and hippocampus of AD patients. Subsequent studies have shown that the regions of the brain affected by AD and related tauopathies are congruent to areas of the brain that benefit from environmental enrichment. This past summer, I conducted both a 10 day and lifespan study examining the effects of environmental enrichment on a Drosophila model of tauopathy at Mount Holyoke College in the CLAN (Colodner Lab of Awesome Neuroscientists). Flies expressing wild type form of tau, and control flies were aged in three different conditions: empty arenas, environmentally enriched arenas, and vials. My investigation into how different environments affect the toxicity of tau in Drosophila persists, as I quantify the data collected over the summer.