Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Bernie Wone

Second Advisor

Dr. David Swanson

Third Advisor

Dr. Christopher Anderson


Aging has been associated with significant declines in muscle strength and mass. The specific molecular mechanisms behind these changes, however, are not well known. One potential mechanism behind muscle aging could be enzymatic dysfunction. This research examines the enzyme changes that occur in the dorsolateral flight muscles of the hawk moth. The hawk moth, Manduca sexta, is an excellent model of muscle aging due to its short lifespan, ease of rearing, and endothermic flight muscles. We assayed citrate synthase (CS) and β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HADH) to determine the activity of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and fatty acid oxidation, respectively. A significant change in HADH activity was observed in male hawk moths between daytime and nighttime, but this change was not detected in females. Significant changes in CS activity occurred between middle aged and aged female hawk moths. Overall, CS activity increased with age for females, and aged females showed less distinction between daytime and nighttime CS activity. Increases in CS activity suggest age-related TCA cycle dysfunction in female hawk moths. This research identifies how beta oxidation and TCA activity change differently for male and female hawk moths via aging.



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