Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access



Faculty Mentor

Beth Bailey

Student Contributor

Alex Goldsby


Presented during the 24th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 22, 2022 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Obesity has been linked to many cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease and diabetes. The development of obesity predominantly derives from a sedentary lifestyle and a high-fat diet (HFD). Cardiovascular disorders have also been observed throughout pregnancy for it is a common stressor on the heart. Previous work in this lab investigated short-term and long-term effects of high-fat diet on the cardiac physiology of female mice. In this study, we strive to understand the combined effect of obesity and pregnancy on the cardiac structure and function in mice. Female mice were divided into four study groups: control non-pregnant (CONNP), control pregnant (CONP), high-fat diet non-pregnant (HFDNP), and high-fat diet pregnant (HFDP). On the day of study, mice were anesthetized, weighed, and blood glucose was measured. Individual cardiac muscle cells were isolated from the heart, and morphological and functional measurements were made. We hypothesized that pregnancy or HFD will induce cardiac hypertrophy and small changes in cardiac function. A combination of these effects will exacerbate these changes. Preliminary results show that a HFD alone and pregnancy alone induce significant increases in body weight but only HFD induced a significant cardiac hypertrophy.


Available to Ursinus community only.