Genetic architecture of fast- and slow-twitch skeletal muscle weight in 200-day-old mice of the C57BL/6J and DBA/2J lineage

A. Lionikas, D. A. Blizard, D. J. Vandenbergh, M. G. Glover, J. T. Stout, G. P. Vogler, G. E. McClearn, L. Larsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The aim of the study was to explore the genetic architecture influencing weight of fast- and slow-twitch skeletal muscles. The weights of the slow-twitch soleus, the mixed gastrocnemius, the fast-twitch tibialis anterior (TA), and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were 11-34% greater (P < 0.001) in 200-day-old C57BL/6J (B6) than in DBA/2J (D2) mice. Male muscles were 13-28% larger than female (P < 1 × 10-5, no strain by sex interaction). The sex-related difference in muscle weight, however, varied significantly among the 23 derivative BXD recombinant inbred (RI) strains (strain by sex interaction for soleus, P < 0.01; TA, P < 1 × 10 -4; EDL, not significant; and gastrocnemius, P < 0.001). Quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting muscle weight were mapped in an F2 intercross of B6 and D2 mice (B6D2F2) and BXD RIs. A total of 10 autosomal, muscle-specific, but not muscle-type-specific, QTL, explaining a total of 5.4, 7.7, 22.9, and 8.6% of phenotypic variance for soleus, TA, EDL, and gastrocnemius muscles, respectively, were found across chromosomes 1 (Chr 1), 2, 3 (female-specific), 5 (two), 6, 7, 8, and 9 in B6D2F2 mice. The QTL on Chr 8 for EDL and the female-specific QTL on Chr 3 for gastrocnemius muscles were statistically significant, but the remaining QTL were at the suggestive level of statistical significance. Ten QTL on Chr 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 14, 17 (two), and 19 were identified in BXD RIs. Half of the QTL in BXD RIs had pleiotropic effects and were at the suggestive level of significance (except for the significant QTL for gastrocnemius muscle on Chr 17). The B6D2F2 nominated QTL on Chr 8 for EDL weight was validated in BXD RIs (P < 0.03). Support intervals for the QTL on Chr 1 and 5 overlapped between B6D2F2 and BXD RIs. An epistatic interaction between markers on Chr 1 and 17 affected gastrocnemius weight in BXD RIs. The interaction was not, however, validated in the B6D2F2 population. Our results indicate that the differences in muscle weight in the B6 and D2 segregating populations were the outcome of a polygenic system, with each factor contributing a small amount to the phenotypic variance and the genetic architecture affecting muscle weight was muscle specific, but not muscle-type specific, and in some instances sex specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiological genomics
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


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