High-throughput phenotypic assessment of cardiac physiology in four commonly used inbred mouse strains

J Comp Physiol B. 2014 Aug;184(6):763-75. doi: 10.1007/s00360-014-0830-3. Epub 2014 May 1.


Mice with genetic alterations are used in heart research as model systems of human diseases. In the last decade there was a marked increase in the recognition of genetic diversity within inbred mouse strains. Increasing numbers of inbred mouse strains and substrains and analytical variation of cardiac phenotyping methods require reproducible, high-throughput methods to standardize murine cardiovascular physiology. We describe methods for non-invasive, reliable, easy and fast to perform echocardiography and electrocardiography on awake mice. This method can be used for primary screening of the murine cardiovascular system in large-scale analysis. We provide insights into the physiological divergence of C57BL/6N, C57BL/6J, C3HeB/FeJ and 129P2/OlaHsd mouse hearts and define the expected normal values. Our report highlights that compared to the other three strains tested C57BL/6N hearts reveal features of heart failure such as hypertrophy and reduced contractile function. We found several features of the mouse ECG to be under genetic control and obtained several strain-specific differences in cardiac structure and function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / physiology*
  • Phenotype*
  • Reference Values
  • Species Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric