Implementation of the mouse frailty index

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2017 Oct;95(10):1149-1155. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2017-0025. Epub 2017 May 2.


Frailty is considered a state of high vulnerability for adverse health outcomes for people of the same age. Those who are frail have higher mortality, worse health outcomes, and use more health care services than those who are not frail. Despite this, little is known about the biology of frailty, the effect of frailty on pharmacological or surgical outcomes, and potential interventions to attenuate frailty. In humans, frailty can be quantified using a frailty index (FI) based on the principle of deficit accumulation. The recent development of an FI in naturally ageing mice provides an opportunity to conduct frailty research in a validated preclinical model. The mouse FI has been successfully used across a wide range of applications; however, there are some factors that should be considered in implementing this tool. This review summarises the current literature, presents some original data, and suggests areas for future research on the current applications of the mouse FI, inter-rater reliability of the FI, the effect of observer characteristics and environmental factors on mouse FI scores, and the individual items that make up the FI assessment. The implementation of this tool into preclinical frailty research should greatly accelerate translational research in this important field.

Keywords: accumulation de déficits; ageing; deficit accumulation; deficit index; frailty index; indice de déficit; indice de fragilité; modèles chez la souris; modèles précliniques; mouse models; preclinical models; translational; translationnel; vieillissement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Environment
  • Frailty / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Translational Medical Research / methods*