Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access


Health & Exercise Physiology

Faculty Mentor

Stephen Kolwicz


Presented during the 23rd Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 23, 2021 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Nutritional deficiencies of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid (LA), may play a role in bipolar disorder (BD). BD is a condition characterized by periods of mania and depression, which may be due to low levels of LA in the brain. A previous study (Berner, Tomasi, Kolwicz, 2017) observed that a high fat diet led to hyperkinesis and weight loss in female, but not male, mice. Since the LA content of the diet was low, the study speculated that this model could be used to study BD in female mice. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to perform a validation experiment to observe the relationship between a high fat diet and behavior in female mice. To test this, female FVB mice (n=20) were randomly assigned to Western Diet (WD; 60% saturated fat and ~5% linoleic acid of total fat) or standard chow diet (20% saturated fat and 50% of total fat) groups. Body weight and food intake were measured weekly in all mice. At baseline and every two weeks, the Open Field Test (OFT) was administered to quantify changes in activity and behavioral patterns. The OFT consists of a circular arena, where mice were observed over 10 minutes using a video tracking software system. The video analysis provided movement distance and speed, time spent stationary versus in motion, and movement patterns during the trial. The findings have shown that there are no significant behavioral differences between the Western diet mice and the chow diet mice.


Available to Ursinus community only.