Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Maxellende Ezin


Neurotransmitters are well-studied in adults and have often been the focus of many treatments for both physical and psychological ailments. This thesis explores the teratogenicity of altering the activity at the serotonin 2B and 2C receptors (5-HT2B; 5-HT2C) and the cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R) in the serotonergic and endocannabinoid systems, respectively. This investigation is focused on neural crest derivative structures. Chapter 1 reviews the background information behind cardiac and cranial neural crest cells and overviews the serotonergic and endocannabinoid systems. In Chapter 2, using a pharmacological agent, 1-methylpsilocin (1-MP), we disrupt the activity of 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C in the early development of chicken embryos. The results indicate that this disruption leads to altered migration patterns in cardiac neural crest cells (cNCC) at Hamburger-Hamilton stage (HH) 14. At HH32 and HH36, embryos exposed to 1-MP show defects in cardiac neural crest derivative structures. These results suggest a novel activity of the 5-HT2B receptor on the migration of cNCC. In Chapter 3, we investigate the impact of altering the activity of the CB1R in early avian development by applying a CB1R agonist. Our results reveal that overactivation of the CB1R results in defects in cranial neural crest migration and derivative structures. A non-muscle myosin II ATPase inhibitor informs on the mechanism for the CB1R-induced altered migration pattern. In Chapter 4, we discuss the broader societal impacts of these findings. I propose that these results indicate a need for further investigation into the safety of 5-HT2B and CB1 receptor disruption in embryonic development.

Available for download on Friday, April 19, 2024

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