Chronic high fat diet exposure alters balance and motor coordination in C57BL/6J mice

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Antoinette Maldonado-Devincci



Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


Behavioral impairments of sensorimotor integration are directly associated with diet exposure. Currently little is known regarding chronic high fat diet exposure on aspects of sensorimotor integration in youth. This study aimed to identify critical stages in which sensorimotor integration are impaired based on diet exposure beginning during juvenile development. One-month old C57BL/6J male and female mice were given either high fat (45% calories from lard) or control diet (10% calories from lard). Balance/motor coordination serving as markers for sensorimotor integration were measured using the beam traversal test. Each mouse is challenged to cross a beam that breaks at its midpoint and becomes narrower. Mice are trained over three trials to traverse the beam, separated by at least 10 minutes for each training trial. Mice are tested on the final trial for total time to traverse and number of slips for the wide and narrow portions of the beam. The test trial was video recorded and scored offline. Mice were tested after both 4 and 5 months of diet exposure. The data suggest that balance/motor coordination was diminished in the animals exposed to the high fat diet compared to controls. Mice exposed to high fat diet slipped more on the narrow side at both time points. Mice, independant on sex, exposed to the high fat diet took a significantly longer amount of time (in seconds) to cross the entirety of the beam. Together, these data indicate that high fat diet exposure induces balance/ motor dysfunction.

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