Date on Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
College of Arts and Sciences
biology; habitat; adiponectin; bear
Wood, James-Dean, "Habitat effects on blood adiponectin isoforms in black bears." (2016). College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. Paper 120.
Adiponectin is a hormone closely associated with symptoms of obesity and diabetes. This hormone has multiple forms: a low molecular weight form (LMW) and a high molecular weight form (HMW). Levels of the HMW form directly correlate to symptoms of the aforementioned conditions. Blood samples were taken from black bears of two different habitats in eastern Kentucky. One population from Pine Mountain (PM), and the other from Big South Fork (BSF). These populations were utilized under the assumption that they would differ in potential sources of nutrition. The PM population is located in an area with greater access to highly palatable and energy rich human refuse. Therefore, this population was thought more likely to have a poor diet compared to the BSF population, which was assumed to be more reliant on natural sources of nutrition. The adiponectin in the blood samples was separated into its two different forms and the concentrations of the two forms were compared between the two habitats. The concentrations of the adiponectin forms were also compared between sexes of the bears sampled. This study found that bears from PM had significantly higher concentrations of total adiponectin than bears from BSF. Male bears from PM had significantly higher levels of the HMW form, and lower levels of the LMW form, when compared to male bears from BSF. No other significant differences were found with respect to habitat or sex. This suggests that a significant difference does exist between the two habitats. Possible explanations for this difference may include effects of age, percent body fat, diet, and seasonality of hormones.