Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access



Faculty Mentor

Beth Bailey

Student Contributor

Jake Menzer


Presented during the 21st Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 19, 2019 at Ursinus College.

This project was supported by the American Physiological Society STRIDE Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, funded by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 1 R25 HL115473-01.

Project Description

In the United States of America the obesity rate has reached an all-time high, with 40% of Americans having a BMI above 30.0. Obesity is correlated with cardiac hypertrophy, which is the enlargement of the heart due to increased physiological needs of the body. Cardiac hypertrophy is also associated with pregnancy. The combination of pregnancy and obesity has been shown to increase female risk of hypertension and heart disease. The goal of this project is to determine the effects of obesity and pregnancy on cardiac function in C57/B6 mice. The four groups of mice included in this study are non-pregnant control chow, pregnant control chow, non-pregnant High Fat Western Diet (HFWD), and pregnant HFWD. The non-pregnant HFWD and pregnant HFWD groups were given the HFWD over a span of 6 weeks and following these 6 weeks, the pregnant normal chow and pregnant HFWD were allowed to mate. To test for cardiac function, morphology (heart weight and mouse weight) was measured and individual isolated cardiac cells were examined for contractile function. I hypothesize that after 12 weeks of a high fat western diet there will be mildly induced mild cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction, and these effects will be exacerbated by pregnancy.


Available to Ursinus community only.