Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Exercise Science

First Advisor

Mark Davis


The overall objective of this dissertation was to examine the degree to which manipulation of the saturated fat content of a high-fat diet influenced obesity-related outcomes as well as to see if the naturally-occurring flavonoid, quercetin, could attenuate the resulting obesity and related metabolic and inflammatory side effects. Specifically, these studies examined 1) the influential role of saturated fat on macrophage function, inflammation, and other obesity-related comorbidities, including non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease, and 2) the potential benefits of quercetin supplementation. Overall, results from these studies suggest that adiposity, macrophage behavior, inflammation, insulin resistance, and non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease progression can be greatly affected by dietary SF content. However, it was found that these outcomes are not necessarily proportional to the percentage of SF in the diet; a diet most closely mimicking the standard American diet (12% and 40% of overall calories from saturated fat and total fat, respectively) led to the greatest adiposity, macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue, and insulin resistance, whereas diets composed of 6% (6%-SF) and 24% (24%-SF) of total calories from SF, but an equivalent level of overall calories from fat (40%), produced lower levels of these variables with the 24%-SF diet resulting in the least degree of insulin resistance and hepatic lipid accumulation. Further, contrary to the findings of others, the anti-inflammatory flavonoid, quercetin, had no effect at mitigating adipose tissue inflammation, hepatic steatosis, or improving body composition or fasting blood glucose levels in a HFD-induced obesity model. Future studies are needed to better understand how the interaction between high-fat feeding and quercetin supplementation influences physiological processes.


© 2013, Reilly Enos