1st Student's Major

Chemistry and Geology

1st Student's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Students' Professional Biography

Jacob Ball, from Hudson, Wisconsin, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Minnesota State University Mankato with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.S in Biology: Human Biology in May 2014. He minored in Spanish by studying abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador and also graduated from the Minnesota State Mankato Honors Program. As an undergraduate, he was a four time All-Conference athlete in Cross Country and Track & Field. He also was named Academic All-American in 2012 and 2013. He presented this research at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Lexington, Kentucky, and at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in Mankato, Minnesota. In August, he will attend medical school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and aspires to become a family practice physician in Northwest Wisconsin or Southwest Minnesota.

Mentor's Name

Theresa Salerno

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

Chemistry and Geology

Mentor's College

Science, Engineering and Technology


Normal abundant dietary sugars such as fructose and sucrose can contribute to hypertension and other health issues. To avoid these health complications, many individuals use artificial sweeteners. An equivalent intake of some artificial sweeteners also can lead to hypertension. However, Stevia, a sweetener that is isolated from a Paraguayan plant, was shown in relevant literature to decrease blood pressure in both rat specimens and humans. The general purpose of this research project was to study the effect of Stevia, saccharin, and sucrose on the expression of two key components of the renin-angiotensin- aldosterone system (RAAS): prorenin receptor (PRR) and angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1). Increased expression of renin and angiotensin can lead to vasoconstriction and systemic hypertension. Their effects are mediated by their binding to PRR and AT1. Therefore, decreases in the expression of these receptor proteins can result in lowered blood pressure. Rats were fed diets supplemented with sucrose, saccharin, or Stevia over a six-week period and the kidneys were obtained. qPCR designs were developed to measure the relative amounts of PRR receptor and AT1 receptor. The methods had efficiencies greater than 97% and gave reproducible results. Then the developed methods were used to measure the expression of AT1 and PRR in the different rat kidney samples. A general increase in the relative expression of both AT1 and PRR in the sucrose diet was observed. However, this increase and all other differences in the test groups were not significantly different than the control group. These results suggest no differences in AT1 or PRR expression for different sweetener diets.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.