Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Jay Whelan

Committee Members

Michael McEntee, Ling Zhao


The ability to extrapolate nutritional intervention data from experimental rodent models to humans requires standardization of dietary design. The inability to translate the level of nutrients from animal models to humans has contributed to contradictory findings between species. It is hypothesized that dietary linoleic acid (LA) promotes chronic and acute diseases by enriching tissues with arachidonic acid (AA), its downstream metabolite. However, levels of LA in rodent diets are notoriously erratic making interspecies comparisons unreliable. Therefore, the ability to extrapolate the biological effects of dietary LA from experimental rodents to humans necessitates an allometric scaling model that is rooted within a human equivalent context. To determine the physiological effect of dietary LA on tissue AA, a mathematical model for extrapolating nutrients based on energy was designed to mimic human equivalent doses. C57BL/6J mice were divided into 9 groups fed a background diet equivalent to that of the US diet (including LA, ALA, AA, EPA, DHA) with supplemental doses of LA (up to 2.3x) or AA (up to 5x). Changes in the phospholipid fatty acid compositions were monitored in plasma and erythrocytes and compared to data from humans supplemented with equivalent doses of LA or AA. Increasing dietary LA had little effect on tissue AA, while supplementing diets with AA significantly increased tissue AA levels, recapitulating results from human trials. Thus, interspecies comparisons for dietary LA between rodents and humans can be achieved when rodents are provided human equivalent doses based on differences in metabolic activity as defined by energy consumption.

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