Laura Marie Hobbs


Presentation: 9:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Propionate is a short chain fatty acid found in our gut and used as a food preservative. Macrophages are a type of phagocytic immune cell that act as a first line of defense against pathogens. Propionate has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects in many cell types, including macrophages. However, the impact of propionate on macrophage morphology is still not fully understood. Therefore, I seek to establish the effect of propionate on macrophage morphology and migration. RAW.264.7 macrophages were treated with IFN-γ and LPS (to simulate infection) and varying concentrations of propionate. Microscopy images were analyzed with ImageJ to determine the length to width ratio of the cells under different treatments. Microfluidic devices were used to assess migration. Nitric oxide production was determined by measuring extracellular nitrite. As low as 1 mM propionate treatment for 3 hours was sufficient to significantly increase the length to width ratios of both naïve and activated macrophages. However, 3 hour propionate treatment at up to 10 mM did not affect nitrite concentration. Overnight propionate treatment as low as 1 mM significantly reduced nitrite concentration in activated macrophages. Overnight 10 mM propionate treatment enhanced migration of both naïve and activated macrophages. These results suggest propionate alters macrophage morphology and potentially alter activation state.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Loan T. Bui, Yvonne Y. Sun

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Propionate Alters Macrophage Morphology and Migration