Document Type

Honors Thesis




Kristy Townsend

Committee Members

Lynn Atkins, Caroline Bicks, Leonard Kass, Dorothy Klimis-Zacas

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


Peripheral neuropathy can be defined as any condition that reduces the innervation of peripheral tissues. Pathologies such as diabetes and aging are catalysts for the development of peripheral neuropathy starting in the skin. It is known that neuropathy with aging and obesity extends into adipose in the C57BL/6 mouse model.Losing proper nerve communication between brain and adipose tissue is detrimental to metabolic health because it reduces the capacity of adipose to undergo necessary processes such as browning and lipolysis. Additionally, it can also worsen obesity and diabetes. Since aging increases the risk for these pathologies, a better understanding of neuropathy with aging is necessary to mitigate them. Denervation is observed around vasculature in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) with aging, which is thought to contribute to microcirculation dysfunction and reduced cardiometabolic health. To test the integrity of scWAT vasculature with aging, a pressure myography system is being built to apply to scWAT blood vessels –the first time this has been performed in these tissues. Myography measures myogenic tone and vascular resistance, which may be affected by aging or neuropathy. Functional responses and vascular reactivity of an isolated artery from mouse WAT will be tested to quantify vascular function. As part of this project, a custom pressure myography system has been built and tested. Now that the system is fully assembled and capable of sustaining a physiological environment for experimentation, assessments across aging will commence.