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Bipolar Disorder (BD), or manic-depressive illness, is a psychiatric disease in which an individual experiences sudden changes in mood, activity, and overall energy. Individuals with the disorder switch between excessive joy and excitement, and extremely sad and hopeless episodes. A common treatment of BD is lithium, a mood stabilizer that helps to relieve manic symptoms. Lithium has been known to contribute to the onset of diabetic-like symptoms, in addition to a large correlation, up to three times higher risk, of developing Type II Diabetes in individuals with BD. In general, individuals who consume a high fat diet (HF) are often seen to have an increased possibility of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. This type of diabetes affects the way one’s body is able to modulate blood glucose levels, which can lead to hyperglycemia and weight gain. Another mood disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is characterized by a lack of social behaviors and often includes symptoms of anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Often treated using similar methods to that of BD, similar comparisons can be made due to the exposure of a high fat diet and lithium. This thesis tested the effects of a high fat diet and lithium consumption on anxiety, social behavior, and diabetic symptoms in both Black Swiss mice, a strain that mimics the manic episodes of BD, and Balb/cJ mice, a strain that mimics behavior associated with ASD. The Balb/cJ mice became less social when on lithium and diet had no effect. They also were resistant to diabetic symptoms as the HF did not make them gain weight nor did it alter glucose tolerance or insulin levels. The Black Swiss had no differences based on liquid or diet socially, but did exhibit decreased anxiety when on lithium. They had increased insulin and cholesterol levels however, no increase to body weight, glucose or triglyceride levels. The two strains were affected differently by alterations to diet and liquid, but since they lack a genetic connection, cannot be compared closer.



Thesis Comittee

Joseph Seggio (Thesis Mentor)

Kenneth Adams

Heather Marella

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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