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

Carola W. Meyer, Juliane Neubronner, Jan Rozman, Gabi Stumm, Andreas Osanger, Claudia Stoeger, Martin Augustin, Johannes Grosse, Martin Klingenspor, Gerhard Heldmaier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


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level, and to minimize relevant genetic variation, we used male and female wild type mice (C3HeB/FeJ) and previously unpublished ENU-induced dwarf mutant littermates (David mice), covering a body mass range from 13.5 g through 32.3 g. BMR was measured at 30°C, mice were killed by means of CO2 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - B Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal metabolic rate
  • Body composition
  • Body mass
  • Morphology
  • Mouse


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