We explored age- and strain-related differences in bone microstructure and body composition in male C57BL/6J, DBA/2JRj and C3H/J mice. Bone microstructure of the femur, tibia and L4 was assessed by μCT at the age of 8, 16 and 24 weeks. The weight of several muscles and fat depots were measured at the same time points. At all timepoints, C3H/J mice had the thickest cortices followed by DBA/2JRj and C57BL/6J mice. Nevertheless, C57BL/6J mice had higher Tb.BV/TV and Tb.N, and lower Tb.Sp than DBA/2JRj and C3H/J mice at least at 24 weeks of age. Skeletal development patterns differed among strains. C57BL/6J and DBA/2JRj mice, but not C3H/J mice, experienced significant increases in the sum of the masses of 6 individual muscles by 24 weeks of age. In C57BL/6J and DBA/2JRj mice, the mass of selected fat depots reached highest values at 24 weeks, whist, in C3H/J mice, the highest values of fat depots masses were achieved at 16 weeks. Early strain differences in muscle and fat masses were largely diminished by 24 weeks of age. C3H/J and C57BL/6J mice displayed the most favorable cortical and trabecular bone parameters, respectively. Strain differences in body composition were less overt than strain specificity in bone microstructure, however, they possibly influenced aspects of skeletal development.
Keywords: Body composition; Bone microstructure; Growth patterns; Myostatin; Peak bone mass; Periostin.