Effects of Steroid Hormones on Voluntary Physical Activity Levels

Student: Vershelle Peterson

Major: Biology and Psychology

Mentors: Dr. Jennifer Wilhelm

Department: Psychology

Effects of Steroid Hormones on Voluntary Physical Activity Levels

In preliminary studies we have found an interaction between sex steroid hormone levels and willingness to engage in voluntary wheel running in mice. The purpose of this project is to investigate the effects of supraphysiological doses of 17 beta-estradiol on wheel running in male and female wild type C57BL/6J mice. Mice were given free access to running wheels attached to their cages. Distance and duration of running as measured by the number of wheel rotations was recorded every 12 hours in sync with the changes in the light/dark cycle in the animal housing room. measured every 12 hours for 2 weeks. After a period of acclimation, the mice received Silastic capsule implants filled with estrogen or nothing (left blank). We hypothesize that mice receiving supraphysiological doses of estrogen and testosterone will engage in less physical activity compared to untreated mice. The findings of this study will give us insight into the relationship between steroid hormones and willingness to engage in physical exercise. If a relationship is found, we will plan to investigate the molecular mechanisms that link steroid hormones to physical activity drive/motivation.