International Mammalian Genome Society

logo18th International Mouse Genome Conference

17-22 October 2004, Seattle, USA


POSTER 123 - DIET, GENETICS, AND BEHAVIOR

Collins K, Kusek G, Stellone M, Beyer B, Bolivar V, Flaherty L

Genomics Institute, Wadsworth Center, Albany NY, United States

Genetic and environmental interactions are common when studying complex traits.  In the literature, there have been several suggestions that diet, especially a high fat diet, may play a role in mouse behaviour.  Therefore, the effects of a high fat diet on behaviour was investigated in two inbred strains of mice, C57BL/6J (B6) and 129S1/SvImJ (129S1).  Fifty mice of each strain were placed on an atherogenic diet (Paigen’s Diet) for 14 weeks and compared in parallel to 50 mice on a standard laboratory chow diet.  As expected, this diet significantly affected average plasma cholesterol values (136 vs 242 mg/dl in 129S1 and 105 vs 276 mg/dl in B6).  The diet also affected several other blood parameters, including levels of alanine aminotransferase, alkaline Phosphatase, glucose, amylase, and calcium.  Sometimes these changes were observed in only in one of the two strains.  For example, calcium levels were higher in the 129S1 strain on a high fat diet, yet the same was not true for B6.  Two measurements of behaviour were also affected by diet, but only in B6 mice.  On the high fat diet, B6 mice showed lower open field activity and a deficit in habituation compared to mice on standard chow.  Other parameters, such as behaviour on an elevated zero maze, were unaffected.  These results imply that high fat diets may influence mouse behaviour, as well as physiology, but only on certain genetic backgrounds.  Further experiments designed to evaluate the effects of these diets on brain gene expression and brain metabolism are in progress. 

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