Sex-specific components of frailty in C57BL/6 mice

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Many age-related biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes are known to be sex-specific. However, how sex influences frailty status and mortality risk in frail rodents has yet to be established. The purpose of this study was therefore to characterize sex differences in frail mice across the lifespan. Male (n=29) and female (n=27) mice starting at 17 months of age were assessed using a frailty phenotype adjusted according to sex, which included body weight, walking speed, strength, endurance and physical activity. Regardless of sex, frail mice were phenotypically dysfunctional compared to age-matched non-frail mice, while non-frail females generally possessed a higher body fat percentage and were more physically active than non-frail males (p≤0.05). The prevalence of frailty was greater in female mice at 26 months of age (p=0.05), but if normalized to mean lifespan, no sex differences remained. No differences were detected in the rate of death or mean lifespan between frail male and female mice (p≥0.12). In closing, these data indicate that sexual differences exist in aging C57BL/6 mice and if the frailty criteria are adjusted according to sex, the prevalence of frailty increases across age with frail mice dying early in life, regardless of sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5206-5214
Number of pages9
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2019

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 & C.W.B and T32-AR007612 to C.W.B).

Publisher Copyright:
© Baumann et al.


  • C57BL/6 mice
  • Frailty
  • Frailty phenotype
  • Health-survival paradox
  • Sex differences


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