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Wrestling with Weight Loss
The Dangers of a Weight-Loss Drug
Susan M. DeSimone
Annie Prud’homme Genereux
In this interrupted case study, a young wrestler considers purchasing 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) online as a means to drop weight quickly. However, a finding that it may have killed someone concerns him. Through progressive disclosure of information, students expand their understanding of membrane permeability and the proton motive force in mitochondria to understand how DNP acts in mitochondria and how it may lead to various physiological effects. Follow-up assignments use knowledge gained in the case to understand mitochondrial thermogenesis in brown fat function and human evolution. The case may be used as a stand-alone exercise in a classroom or be paired with a laboratory investigation using isolated plant mitochondria. It is suitable for an introductory cell biology course for biology majors and non-majors.
|Keywords:||DNP; 2,4–dinitrophenol; mitochondria; mitochondrion; permeability; proton motive force; proton gradient; energy transfer; ATP; uncoupler; substance use|
|Educational Level:||Undergraduate upper division|
|Type/Method:||Dilemma/Decision, Discussion, Interrupted, Laboratory|
|Subject Headings:||Cell Biology Molecular Biology Biology (General)|
|Copyright:||Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.|
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The case includes a set of three PowerPoint slides with animations of the diagrams given to students. They are intended to be shown in class between Parts II and III and Parts III and IV of the case.