Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



Sleep is an important process required for vertebrates, including humans, to function. When sleep is disrupted, it leads to deleterious effects such as inflammatory responses throughout the body. Past studies have shown that acute (24 h) sleep fragmentation (SF) leads to an inflammatory response in white adipose tissue. However, whether brown adipose tissue responds in a similar fashion is unknown. Male adult (>8 weeks of age) C57BL/6j mice were subjected to SF for 24 h using a cage outfitted with a bar that moves horizontally across the cage every 2 min to periodically awaken mice (N =10). Controls were housed in a similar cage but experienced no bar movement (N=10). After SF, inguinal and epididymal white adipose tissue, as well as brown adipose tissue, were collected. Next, RNA was extracted from samples, reverse transcribed into cDNA, and then pro-inflammatory gene expression (IL-1ß and TNF-a) was assessed using realtime PCR. For both cytokines, there was differential expression in the different types of adipose tissue. Specifically, pro-inflammatory gene expression was elevated in white, but not brown, adipose tissue among SF mice. The difference in function of brown versus white adipose could serve as an explanation as why they respond differently to a stressor, such as sleep loss.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Noah Ashley, Ph.D.


Biology | Endocrinology | Physiology