Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

William Church

Second Advisor

Hebe Guardiola-Diaz


This work investigated the effects of the ketogenic diet on catecholamine concentrations in the brains of mice. The ketogenic diet has been show to modulate the catecholamine concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid of children as well as altering hippocampal norepinephrine levels in mice. Tissue homogenates of the motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, nucleus accumbens, anterior caudate, posterior caudate and midbrain regions were analyzed using high pressure liquid chromatography to quantitate norepinephrine, dopamine, 3, 4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA) and serotonin (5-HT). No significant differences in catecholamine concentration levels were detected in the tissue homogenates. Analysis of metabolite to catecholamine levels indicated a significant difference in the DOPAC/Dopamine in the motor cortex (p < 0.05) and midbrain (p < 0.05). A significant correlation between neurotransmitter content and beta-Hydroxybutyric acid (BHB) blood levels was seen in several brain regions. While the results of this experiment do not correlate with previous research pertaining to changes in the global CNS catecholamine levels, it is the first to examine catecholamine concentrations in localized brain regions for mice on a chronic KD.



Dr. William Church for his support and assistance throughout the entirety of the experiment

Dr. Susan Masino and Dr. David Ruskin who provided the mice brains utilized in this study

Research Assistants (through ISP Research Program):

Livia Weiss (‘16)

Anne Do (‘16)

This research was supported financially by the Trinity College Faculty Research Committee