Divergent physiological characteristics and responses to endurance training among inbred mouse strains

A. Kilikevicius, T. Venckunas, R. Zelniene, A. M. Carroll, S. Lionikaite, A. Ratkevicius, A. Lionikas

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28 Scopus citations


Both baseline values and adaptive changes in mice can vary depending on the genetic background. We aimed to assess variation in a battery of variables and their adaptations to endurance training in six inbred mouse strains. Males, n=184, from A/J, BALB/cByJ, C3H/HeJ, C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and PWD/PhJ strains were assigned to a control or an endurance group (5 weeks swimming exercise). Enzyme activity, histology of soleus (SOL) muscle, swimming endurance, cardiac ventricular and hind limb muscle weight, and femur length were examined. Endurance capacity, morphological and histological variables, and enzyme activity substantially differed among strains. For example, SOL weight was twofold higher and cross-sectional area (CSA) of fibers was ~30% greater in C57BL/6J than in PWD/PhJ strain. The CSA of type 1 fibers were larger than type 2A in PWD/PhJ (P<0.01); however, the reverse was true in DBA/2J and BALB/cByJ strains (P<0.05). Swimming endurance in DBA/2J strain was ∼9 times better than in BALB/cByJ. Endurance training increased the activity of citrate synthase in gastrocnemius across strains (P<0.01), however, changes in endurance were strain-specific; the C57BL/6J and DBA/2J strains improved substantially, whereas A/J and BALB/cByJ strains did not. In conclusion, genetic background is a potent determinant of the physiological characteristics and adaptations to training in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-668
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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