Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Publication Date

Fall 11-30-2023


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Timothy Schoenfeld

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


High-fat diets are prevalent in the United States and other countries, contributing to potential health concerns. Previous research has shown that foods with high-fat levels can lead to deficits in spatial memory and alter the hippocampus, a brain area important for spatial learning and memory. Research has also shown that memory deficits can be improved and sometimes restored by increasing the levels of probiotic intake while consuming a high-fat diet. In a previous experiment, adult female rats were fed a high-fat diet and showed spatial memory impairments. The rats were then reverted back to a control, low-fat diet and split into two groups: one which was fed probiotic yogurt and one which was fed filtered yogurt with probiotic microorganisms daily. After four weeks of this new diet, probiotic-fed rats showed recovery of spatial memory, while control rats without probiotics still showed spatial memory impairment. At this point, brains were harvested, sliced at 40um, and stained with crestyl violet to color neuronal nuclei throughout brain tissue. Using these sliced sections, separate subregions of the hippocampus (dentate gyrus, CA3, and CA1) were traced and volume of these subregions was estimated. We predict that the mice who were fed the probiotic yogurt will not have a significantly larger hippocampal size compared to the rats who had the filtered yogurt.