Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Min Cao

Committee Member

Dr. Yuqing Dong

Committee Member

Dr. Thomas A. Hughes


The 'Western Diet,' prominent among developed nations, often refers to a diet rich in meat proteins and refined sugars. Western society may in part be plagued with obesity and obesity related diseases due to a diet enriched with glucose. With an increasing glycemic index observed in Western society, it comes to no surprise that obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity related diseases are on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes obesity as an epidemic, affecting more than 35% of U.S. citizens. Shortened lifespan and increased susceptibility to pathogens are associated with these diseases and linked to increased consumption of foods high in sugar. In order to reverse these observed effects, the healthful benefits probiotics have on immune system stimulation, restoration of shortened lifespan induced by a high glucose diet, and the beneficial effects of probiotics in combination of cranberry extracts in the models system Caenorhabditis elegans were investigated. An exciting benefit of implementing C. elegans in such studies is the innate immunological response and aging pathways homology with humans. By targeting these pathways, C. elegans provides an economical model system that provides application in humans. Here, we investigated the effects probiotics have on high glucose diet in C. elegans. Consistent with previous studies, when C. elegans was supplemented with each probiotic strain tested, lifespan extension was observed. Interestingly, the reversal of glucose induced shortened lifespan and the extension of lifespan in combination of cranberry extracts was strain dependent. The impact that probiotics have on the reversal of detrimental effects associated with a high glucose diet, including protection against known pathogens and immunological response pathways targeted by probiotics, is currently under investigation.

Included in

Microbiology Commons



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