Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Cell & Molecular Biology (MS)

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Jamie I. Baum

Committee Member

Tyrone Washington

Second Committee Member

Sun-Ok Lee

Third Committee Member

Walter Bottje

Fourth Committee Member

Jeffery Wolchok


Biological sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Diet, Leucine, Obesity, Supplementation


Excess dietary fat consumption has been implicated in the development of obesity and diabetes. Obesity can be characterized by a disproportionate increase in fat mass compared to lean body mass. However, if muscle mass can be increased or maintained in obesity, this may facilitate weight loss by increasing the body’s overall metabolic capacity. Historically, supplementation with the branched-chain amino acid leucine has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis via the protein kinase mTORC1. Recent studies suggest that supplementation with leucine also has the potential to reduce weight gain and fat deposition in high-fat fed, obese mice. The objective of this study was to determine if long-term dietary leucine supplementation prevents development of obesity in rats meal-fed a high fat (60%) diet. Male, Sprague-Dawley rats (n=30/dietary treatment) were meal-fed (3 meals/day) either a control diet (C), control+leucine (CL), high-fat (HF), or high-fat+leucine (HFL) for 42 days. HF/HFL-fed rats gained, 28 g more than rats fed C/CL diets (p