Influence of genetic background on ex vivo and in vivo cardiac function in several commonly used inbred mouse strains

Matthew S. Barnabei, Nathan J. Palpant, Joseph M Metzger

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72 Scopus citations


Inbred mouse strains play a critical role in biomedical research. Genetic homogeneity within inbred strains and their general amenability to genetic manipulation have made them an ideal resource for dissecting the physiological function(s) of individual genes. However, the inbreeding that makes inbred mice so useful also results in genetic divergence between them. This genetic divergence is often unaccounted for but may be a confounding factor when comparing studies that have utilized distinct inbred strains. Here, we compared the cardiac function of C57BL/6J mice to seven other commonly used inbred mouse strains: FVB/NJ, DBA/2J, C3H/HeJ, BALB/cJ, 129X1/SvJ, C57BL/10SnJ, and 129S1/SvImJ. The assays used to compare cardiac function were the ex vivo isolated Langendorff heart preparation and in vivo real-time hemodynamic analysis using conductance micromanometry. We report significant strain-dependent differences in cardiac function between C57BL/6J and other commonly used inbred strains. C57BL/6J maintained better cardiac function than most inbred strains after ex vivo ischemia, particularly compared with 129S1/SvImJ, 129X1/SvJ, and C57BL/10SnJ strains. However, during in vivo acute hypoxia 129X1/SvJ and 129S1/SvImJ maintained relatively normal cardiac function, whereas C57BL/6J animals showed dramatic cardiac decompensation. Additionally, C3H/HeJ showed rapid and marked cardiac decompensation in response to esmolol infusion compared with effects of other strains. These findings demonstrate the complex effects of genetic divergence between inbred strains on cardiac function. These results may help inform analysis of gene ablation or transgenic studies and further demonstrate specific quantitative traits that could be useful in discovery of genetic modifiers relevant to cardiac health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiological genomics
Volume42 A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Hypoxia
  • Ischemia/reperfusion
  • Quantitative trait locus
  • β-blockade


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