Clinically relevant Frailty Index for mice

Haiming Liu, Ted G. Graber, Lisa Ferguson-Stegall, Ladora V. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Frailty is a clinical syndrome associated with the aging process and adverse outcomes. The purpose of this short report was to initiate the development of a Frailty Index in 27- to 28-month-old C57BL/6 mice that matched the clinical criteria used in humans (weakness, slow walking speed, low activity level, poor endurance). The selected criteria included grip strength, walking speed, physical activity, and endurance. The criteria in mice were evaluated by the inverted-cling grip test, rotarod test, voluntary wheel running, and derived endurance scores. Each criterion had a designated cutoff point (1.5 SD below the cohort mean) to identify the mice with the lowest performance. If a mouse presented with three of the criteria scores below the cutoff points, it was identified as frail. Mild frailty was designated if two criteria were below the cutoff points. In this mouse cohort, one mouse was identified as frail and one was mildly frail. This prevalence of 9% frailty is consistent with the prevalence of frailty in humans at the same survival age. Collectively, our selected criterion, cutoff point, and Frailty Index provide a potential standardized definition for frailty in mice that is consistent with the operational definition of frailty in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1485-1491
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.


  • Frailty
  • Muscle
  • Sarcopenia


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