Expanding the body mass range: associations between BMR and tissue morphology in wild type and mutant dwarf mice (David mice)

J Comp Physiol B. 2007 Feb;177(2):183-92. doi: 10.1007/s00360-006-0120-9. Epub 2006 Sep 29.


We sought to identify associations of basal metabolic rate (BMR) with morphological traits in laboratory mice. In order to expand the body mass (BM) range at the intra-strain level, and to minimize relevant genetic variation, we used male and female wild type mice (C3HeB/FeJ) and previously unpublished ENU-induced dwarf mutant littermates (David mice), covering a body mass range from 13.5 g through 32.3 g. BMR was measured at 30 degrees C, mice were killed by means of CO(2 )overdose, and body composition (fat mass and lean mass) was subsequently analyzed by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), after which mice were dissected into 12 (males) and 10 (females) components, respectively. Across the 44 individuals, 43% of the variation in the basal rates of metabolism was associated with BM. The latter explained 47% to 98% of the variability in morphology of the different tissues. Our results demonstrate that sex is a major determinant of body composition and BMR in mice: when adjusted for BM, females contained many larger organs, more fat mass, and less lean mass compared to males. This could be associated with a higher mass adjusted BMR in females. Once the dominant effects of sex and BM on BMR and tissue mass were removed, and after accounting for multiple comparisons, no further significant association between individual variation in BMR and tissue mass emerged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism / genetics
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology*
  • Body Composition / genetics
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Size / genetics
  • Body Size / physiology
  • Dwarfism / genetics
  • Dwarfism / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Mutant Strains / physiology*
  • Organ Size / genetics
  • Organ Size / physiology
  • Phenotype