Megan Rose Bias



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Macrophages are important immune cells that can help protect our health by engulfing and destroying pathogens. For macrophages to work, they must be activated when there is a threat. My study focused on testing the effect of propionate, acetate, and butyrate on the ability of macrophages to produce nitrogen radicals. Propionate, acetate, and butyrate are short chain fatty acids that are present in the human body. They help with regulatory functions that are important for our health. We do not yet know how these short chain fatty acids can affect the macrophages’ ability to destroy possible threats. Macrophages have many ways to destroy pathogens, such as the production of nitrogen radicals. The production of nitrogen radicals can be measured through a nitrite assay. The macrophages were infected with Listeria monocytogenes that had been treated with one of the short chain fatty acids and then we measured the amount of nitrite production in the cell media. High levels of nitrite indicate high nitrogen radical production. Results from my study helped me understand how short chain fatty acids impact susceptibility to infections in the human body.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Yvonne Y. Sun

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

The Role of Short Chain Fatty Acids in the Activation of Macrophage Production of Nitrogen Radicals by Listeria monocytogenes Infections