Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pharmacology and Toxicology

Degree Program

Pharmacology and Toxicology, MS

Committee Chair

Wise, Jr., John

Committee Member

Wise, Sr., John

Committee Member

Aschner, Michael

Committee Member

Cai, Lu

Committee Member

Cai, Jun

Committee Member

Zheng, Wei

Author's Keywords

Chromium; Neurotoxicity; Neurotoxicology; aging; behavior; toxic aging coin


We are facing an aging crisis, with 20% of the U.S. population projected to be geriatric (65+) by 2030 and live another 40+ years. Age-related diseases accompany a growing geriatric population, emphasizing the need to understand their etiology. Environmental pollutants compound this crisis by: 1) geriatrics are more susceptible, exacerbating age-related diseases and comorbidities, and 2) they accelerate biological aging, inducing age-related diseases at younger ages. We address this crisis using a ‘toxic aging coin’ approach; heads examines how age impacts toxicity, tails examines how chemicals accelerate aging. This thesis applies the heads side for Cr(VI)-induced neurotoxicity across ages. We hypothesize low concentrations of Cr(VI) in drinking water induces distinct age-, sex-, and region-specific neurotoxicity in rats, with geriatrics exhibiting the strongest effects. We observed Cr accumulation in the hippocampus but not frontal cortex, altered neurobehaviors (frailty, activity, spatial memory), and neurodegeneration, with age, sex, and regional differences.