Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access




Stephen Kolwicz

Committee Member

Lauren Makuch

Committee Member

Carlita Favero

Department Chair

Carlita Favero

Project Description

The prevalence of obesity and hyperactivity in children have increased over the last several years. However, research has yet to establish a known association between the development of obesity and behavioral disorders. The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high fat diet, low carbohydrate diet that has been used as a therapeutic intervention in neurological disorders including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Since the brain is reliant on glucose metabolism, the low carbohydrate content in the KD may negatively impact neurometabolic activity and function, particularly in the developing brain. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate how the KD affects the behavior and brain development in male and female C57BL/6 mice. Mice were randomly assigned to KD (90% fat, 1% carbohydrate, 9% protein) or chow (13% fat, 60% carbohydrate, 27% protein) group starting at 5 weeks of age for a total of 6 weeks. Body weight and food intake were tracked weekly. The Elevated Plus Maze and Open Field Test were administered to all mice at the conclusion of the study to assess changes in activity and behavior, specifically anxiety. Adipose tissue, quadriceps, heart, liver, and brain were removed and weighed to observe changes in organ weight. The brain was coronally sliced, and Nissl stained for observation of the Basolateral Amygdala. This study explored the potential effects of the ketogenic diet on behavior and brain structure in young male and female mice.


Funding provided by the American Heart Association.