Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 4-1-2011

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Megan Oest

Honors Reader

Dr. Andrew Darling

Capstone Major

Biomedical and Chemical Engineering

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Biological Engineering | Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Other Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering


Using mice as a model system, this study aimed to compare the effect of a high fat diet (HFD), high sugar diet (HSD) and a control diet (CD) on fetal growth and development at the time of birth (post-natal day 0 or PND 0), post-natal day 7 (PND 7) and post-natal day 14 (PND 14). Published literature has documented the effects of a negative in-utero environment on fetal development, but currently there is limited research regarding the continued effects on development after birth. Mouse pups were harvested and then imaged in 3-D using a high-resolution micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) system. Total bone volume, average bone mineral density, and limb lengths were quantified individually for each pup using the micro-CT images. At PND 0, limb lengths, bone mineral densities, and total bone volumes were significantly decreased in HFD and HSD pups compared to CD samples. By PND 7, limb length measurements for the HFD caught up to the CD samples. Pups on the HSD showed evidence of accelerated “catch-up” growth as well. By PND 14 there were no differences between the HFD, HSD and the CD. This indicates that while maternal diet during gestation profoundly influences pre-natal growth, pups exposed to intra-uterine HFD or HSD exhibit “catch-up” growth post-natally. While outcome measures for the HFD and HSD pups normalize to CD specimens prior to weaning, this rapid catch-up growth has been shown to lead to negative health effects later in life.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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