Trippin’ on Chai: The Effects of Nutmeg on Pain, Anxiety, Depression, and TRPA1 expression in Drosophila melanogaster

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Authors
Breit, Julianna
Gnoyski, Alyssa
Miller, Christine
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Date of Issue
2023-04-28
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Title
Trippin’ on Chai: The Effects of Nutmeg on Pain, Anxiety, Depression, and TRPA1 expression in Drosophila melanogaster
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Abstract
Nutmeg, a spice often associated with chai and Christmas cookies, has been used as a natural health remedy throughout the centuries to alleviate pain, depression, and anxiety. To empirically investigate this traditional remedy, we analyzed the effects of nutmeg on these symptoms in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly. We hypothesized that oral-administration of nutmeg would reduce the levels of pain, anxiety, and depression experienced by D. melanogaster. To test this hypothesis, thermal noxious stimulus assays, a light avoidance and geotaxis assay, and a forced swim test were used to measure pain, anxiety, and depression, respectively. In addition, RT-qPCR was used to measure expression of the pain-response gene, TRPA1. Ultimately, we found that only the larval thermal noxious stimulus assay and RT-qPCR produced statistically significant results (p<0.05), despite apparent shifts in the other performed assays. While we observed both physical and gene expression differences in the nutmeg-treated D. melanogaster, we recognize that further research must be conducted to determine how much nutmeg impacts pain, anxiety, depression, and TRPA1 expression in the common fruit fly.
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Spring
Department
Biochemistry-Molecular Biology