PhD candidate presents on growth patterns, named finalist for scientific award

Cassaundra White, a PhD candidate at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, presented an abstract on “Excess dietary fat accelerates bone elongation in vitro similar to in vivo models” as a Langman Graduate Scientific Platform Finalist at the Anatomy Connected 2024 conference in Toronto. Finalists for this highly-competitive award were blindly reviewed and scored to compete among four finalists at each academic level (postdoc, graduate or undergraduate).

In her team’s previous research, they discovered that their juvenile mouse model displayed growth patterns akin to those observed in children with obesity. Interestingly, mice on a high fat diet exhibited accelerated bone growth prior to developing obesity, despite no notable changes in serum IGF-1 levels, which typically regulate postnatal growth. However, local production of IGF-1 in and around the growth plate was found to be altered in response to the high-fat diet.

To further investigate these findings, the researchers employed a new bone culturing system wherein mouse metatarsals were isolated and cultured in varying concentrations of fat. Their findings revealed that metatarsal growth and the activity of genes associated with cell growth increased with higher fat concentrations. These results corroborate the team's hypothesis that dietary fat can directly influence bone elongation rate. Moreover, they suggest potential implications for monitoring the diets of children at risk of obesity and subsequent skeletal complications. Additional research is ongoing.



Date Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2024