Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Washington, Tyrone

Committee Member/Reader

Walker, Kate

Committee Member/Second Reader

Beaulieu, Jeremy

Committee Member/Third Reader

Aloia, Lindsey


Cancer cachexia is a wasting syndrome characterized by extreme weight and skeletal muscle loss that results in death in many tumor bearing individuals. Because skeletal muscle requires a high amount of energy to function, skeletal muscle fiber cells need healthy mitochondria to function. When skeletal muscle loss atrophy occurs, the mitochondrial network is degraded. Different treatments for this muscle atrophy are being studied, one of which is a leucine supplementation since leucine has been found to stimulate skeletal muscle growth in other studies. However, current data suggests that a leucine supplementation in cachexic individuals exacerbates this atrophy. PURPOSE: This study will examine how leucine supplementation will affect the mitochondrial markers in pre-cachectic mice. METHODS: Female APCMin/+ and their wild-type litter mates were assigned to either the leucine supplementation group, which will receive leucine in their water until tissue harvest, or no leucine supplementation group. The gastrocnemius was harvested at 13 weeks (pre-cachectic stage). Quantitative PCR was performed to determine mRNA abundance of OPA1 and BNIP3. A two-way ANOVA was used to analyze the data. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between in mitochondrial markers, OPA1 and BNIP3, between groups. There was a main effect of leucine and time, and there was an interaction between genotype and time. There were no significant differences in tissue weights, and the APCMin/+ leucine group had the highest average polyp count. There was an interaction between genotype and treatment in peak torque averages, and the comparison between wild-type no leucine and APCMin/+ no leucine was significant. CONCLUSIONS: Leucine does not have a significant effect on the mitochondrial quality or health of female mice in the pre-cachectic stage.


Leucine Supplementation, Mitochondrial Markers, Cancer Cachexia