Honors Program

Honors in Health Sciences: Human Health

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Allan Forsman

Thesis Professor Department

Health Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Allan Forsman, Aruna Kilaru, Jonathan Peterson


Chronic alcohol (ethanol) consumption has been known to affect the major organs of the body and particularly the liver. However, the effects of chronic ethanol consumption on the female reproductive system remain relatively unstudied. A convenient way to study these effects is by analyzing laboratory mice that have been fed an ethanol diet for an extended period of time and comparing them to control mice. In this study, female mice were separated into control and ethanol fed groups. The mice were placed on their specified diets and observed over the course of six weeks. The mice were fed and weighed daily throughout the duration of the experiment. Once a week, vaginal washes were performed on both groups of mice to determine the stage of the estrous cycle for each mouse. At the end of the six weeks, the mice were sacrificed and the ovaries were harvested and fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde. The ovaries were then paraffin embedded and sectioned. Glass microscope slides were then stained using Hematoxylin and Eosin staining procedures for evaluation using standard light microscopy. The tissue’s morphology, follicle development, presence of corpora lutea, and overall appearance were analyzed. Due to the premature deaths of several mice in first group of ethanol fed mice, the experiment was repeated with three more groups of mice to obtain a better representation of data. The data from the control group was compared to that of the ethanol fed group. The mice that received the ethanol fed diet ceased to cycle and arrested in the diestrous phase of the estrous cycle. Our data indicates that the ovarian follicles within the ethanol fed mice show signs of degeneration in the 4b, 5a, 5b, 6, and 7 levels of development. There are also no notable corpora lutea present within the ovaries of the ethanol fed mice. Our findings indicate that chronic alcohol consumption has deleterious effects on ovarian morphology in mice.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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