Objective: To evaluate applicability, precision, and accuracy of a new quantitative magnetic resonance (QMR) analysis for whole body composition of conscious live mice.
Research methods and procedures: Repeated measures of body composition were made by QMR, DXA, and classic chemical analysis of carcass using live and dead mice with different body compositions. Caloric lean and dense diets were used to produce changes in body composition. In addition, different strains of mice representing widely diverse populations were analyzed.
Results: Precision was found to be better for QMR than for DXA. The coefficient of variation for fat ranged from 0.34% to 0.71% compared with 3.06% to 12.60% for DXA. Changes in body composition in response to dietary manipulation were easily detected using QMR. An increase in fat mass of 0.6 gram after 1 week (p < 0.01) was demonstrated in the absence of hyperphagia or a change in mean body weight.
Discussion: QMR and DXA detected similar fat content, but the improved precision afforded by QMR compared with DXA and chemical analysis allowed detection of a significant difference in body fat after 7 days of consuming a diet rich in fat even though average body weight did not significantly change. QMR provides a very precise, accurate, fast, and easy-to-use method for determining fat and lean tissue of mice without the need for anesthesia. Its ability to detect differences with great precision should be of value when characterizing phenotype and studying regulation of body composition brought about by pharmacological and dietary interventions in energy homeostasis.