Identifying characteristics of frailty in female mice using a phenotype assessment tool

Dongmin Kwak, Cory W. Baumann, La Dora V. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Preclinical studies are important in identifying the underlying mechanisms contributing to frailty. Frailty studies have mainly focused on male rodents with little directed at female rodents. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to identify the onset and prevalence of frailty across the life span in female mice, and to determine if frailty predicts mortality. Female C57BL/6 (n = 27) mice starting at 17 months of age were assessed across the life span using a frailty phenotype, which included body weight, walking speed, strength, endurance, and physical activity. The onset of frailty occurred at approximately 17 months (1/27 mice), with the prevalence of frailty increasing thereafter. At 17 months, 11.1% of the mice were pre-frail and by 26 months peaked at 36.9%. The percentage of frail mice progressively increased up to 66.7% at 32 months. Non-frail mice lived to 29 months whereas frail/pre-frail mice lived only to 26 months (p =. 04). In closing, using a mouse frailty phenotype, we are able to identify that the prevalence of frailty in female mice increases across the life span and accurately predicts mortality. Together, this frailty phenotype has the potential to yield information about the underlying mechanisms contributing to frailty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-646
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 9 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work supported by the Travis Roy Endowed Professorship (to L.V.T.) and the National Institutes of Health (T32-AG029796 to L.V.T. and C.W.B., and T32-AR007612 to C.W.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.


  • Aging
  • Body weight
  • Mortality
  • Muscle
  • Physical function


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