Document Type

Honors Thesis


Dorothy Klimis-Zacas

Committee Members

Robert Gundersen, Melissa Ladenheim, Sara Lello, Sally Molloy

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 2019


The Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) affects 35% of U.S. adults and is an indicator of early death. While pharmacological treatments have been developed for the majority of MetS risk factors, obesity-induced inflammation remains to be addressed. Dysfunctional adipose tissue is a source of inflammation, and perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) is critical in its pathogenesis. This study investigates the effects of red raspberry (rubus idaeus) diet-enrichment on inflammation of PVAT. The obese Zucker rat (OZR) model of MetS and the lean Zucker rat (LZR) control (C) model were used. Rats received an eight-week control or whole red raspberry-enriched (WRR) diet (8% w/w red raspberry powder). RT-PCR was performed on LZR and OZR PVAT homogenates to determine gene expression of pro-inflammatory markers (IL-1β, IL-6, MCP- 1, NF- κB, TNF- α) and anti-inflammatory markers (adiponectin and IL-10), and ELISAs were performed to determine concentrations of a subset of these markers (adiponectin, IL-1β, IL-10, MCP-1). RT-PCR analyses of PVAT indicated a significant down-regulation of pro-inflammatory marker NF-κB in OZR-C versus LZR-C models. ELISA analyses indicated a significant increase in anti-inflammatory marker adiponectin concentration in OZR-WRR versus OZR-C models, a significant decrease in anti-inflammatory marker IL-10 concentration in OZR-C versus LZR-C models, and a significant decrease in pro-inflammatory marker IL-1β concentration in OZR-C versus LZR-C models. Findings suggest that WRR enrichment does not have a consistent genomic or proteomic effect on PVAT inflammation status. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms dictating the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects observed.