Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Britto P. Nathan


It has been observed that highly-proliferating cells, such as cancer cells, rely mainly on glycolysis for ATP production, regardless of presence of oxygen. This effect, however, can be reversed by changing the main energy substrate in the medium from glucose to galactose. The oxidation of galactose in glycolysis yields less net ATP, presumably forcing the cell into OXPHOS. This has been established in many cell lines, including HeLA, HepG2, and skeletal muscle cells. As of yet, this has not been reproduced in neuronal cells. Using Neuro2a, a murine neuroblastoma cell line, this study exposes neuronal cells to galactose medium, and measures effect on neurite outgrowth, cell proliferation, and other indicators of metabolic function. An increase in neurite length and overall growth was observed in galactose-grown cells, as was an increase in doubling time (n = 3, p < .05). Oxygen consumption shows an increase of 20% in galactose grown cells (n=5-10, p < .05). Mitochondrial protein shows an increase in galactose-grown cells (n=3, p < .05).