Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Physiology and Health
Curteisha Jacobs - Harris Stowe State University
Co-Author(s): Sandra Leal, Harris-Stowe State University
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a common salt additive used to enhance the flavor of food. From personal observations, we hypothesized that eating food containing MSG on a frequent basis may develop into an addictive behavior. Thus, consuming MSG may increase dopamine levels in the reward center of the brain and affect behaviors. Specifically, Dopamine is a ‘ feel good’ neurotransmitter released from the nucleus accumbens of the brain(1). To determine whether MSG consumption affects dopamine levels in the brain, we used Drosophila larvae as a simple model system to validate the proposed hypothesis. We used developmental and behavioral assays to examine the effect of MSG and related compounds on dopamine levels and behaviors of Drosophila larvae. While obesity is a health epidemic in America of paramount concern, food additives such as MSG must be considered as a contributing factors to unhealthy eating habits leading to the development of obesity. 1) Website: https://www.psychologistworld.com/biological/neurotransmitters/dopamine.php
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation: HBCU-UP program
Faculty Advisor: Sandra Leal, Leals@hssu.edu
Role: All of the research was performed by myself.