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Inbred Strains of Mice: C57BR


Inbr (J) 178. Brown: a,b. Origin: Little in 1921 from the same cross that gave rise to C57BL, C57BR/a and C57L. Black and brown substrains were separated in the first generation. Substrain cd was established at F13 from a cross between two brown substrains, one of which had previously given rise to C57BR/a. To Heston 1938, to J 1947 at F66. Maint. by J.


High intrastrain aggression (1/14), high open-field activity (1/14), high spontaneous bar-pressing (2/14) and low social grooming during aggressive encounters (11/14) (Southwick and Clark, 1966, 1968). High open-field activity (1/15) (Thompson, 1953). High shock-avoidance learning (1/9) (Bovet et al., 1966., 1966), (2/9) (Bovet et al., 1969., 1969). High alcohol preference (3/18) (Rodgers, 1966).

Life-span and spontaneous disease

Primary lung tumours 3% in males, 1%,, in breeding females and zero in virgin females, lymphatic leukaemia less than 1% (Hoag, 1963). Pituitary tumours 33% in old breeding females (Murphy, 1966). \par

Long life-span in conventional conditions (20/22 = 703 days in males and 19/22 = 694 days in females), hepatomas 25% in males (Storer, 1966). Life-span intermediate in both sexes in SPF fostered conditions (10/17 = 577 days in males, 9/17 = 660 days in females) (Festing and Blackmore, 1971).

Normal physiology and biochemistry

Low systolic blood pressure (16/19) (Schlager and Weibust, 1967). High mean heart rate (2/7) but low mean heart rate adaptation (6/7) (Blizard and Welty, 1971). High metabolic rate (5/18) (Storer, 1967). High cell turnover as estimated by clearance of DNA-bound radioactivity (1/17) (Heiniger et al., 1972., 1972). Low plasma cholinesterase activity (20/22 in males, 16/22 in females) (Angel et al., 1967., 1967). High hypoxanthene-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase in thalamus (2/7) (Suran 1973). Low brain L-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) (6/7) and acetylcholinesterase activity (6/7), but high monoamine oxidase activity (2/7) (Tunnicliff et al., 1973., 1973).

Low percentage of the time spent sleeping (6/6), with low percentage of slow-wave sleep (6/6) and high percentage of paradoxical sleep (1/6) (Valatx and Bugat, 1974). High proportion of paradoxical (REM) sleep (1/7) (Pagel et al., 1973., 1973).

Low sensitivity to thyrotropin (21/21) (Levy et al., 1965., 1965). Low glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity (15/16) (Hutton, 1971). Low hepatic delta-aminolaevulinic acid synthetase activity after DDC treatment (15/15) (Gross and Hutton, 1971). High hepatic nicotinamide N-methyltransferase levels (1/10) (Scheller et al, 1996) Susceptible to the induction of atherosclerosis and develop large lesions with many foam cells on a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet (13/13) (Roberts and Thompson, 1976).


Low brain weight (24/25) (Roderick et al., 1973., 1973). High total leukocyte count (5/18), high haematocrit (2/18), high mean corpuscular volume (3/18) and high haemoglobin (3/18) (Russell et al., 1951., 1951).


Nicotine decreases shock-avoidance learning (9/9) (Bovet et al., 1966., 1966). Susceptible to tumour induction by 3-methylcholanthrene (4/12) (Whitmire et al., 1971., 1971). Sensitive to insulin (1/9) and histamine (1/9) (Brown, 1965). Resistant to hyperbaric oxygen (18/18) with few central nervous system manifestations (Hill et al., 1968i0 1968). Resistant to X-irradiation as judged by the LD50 (2/9) (Yuhas and Storer, 1969), (2/9) (Storer, 1966). Resistant to chloroform toxicity (cf. 5/9) (Deringer et al., 1953., 1953). Sensitive (eosinophil response) to cortisone acetate (cf. 3/6) (Wragg and Speirs, 1952). Highly susceptible to the induction of liver tumours by N,N-diethylnitrosamine. At 50 weeks of age mean tumour multiplicity following a single dose of DEN given at 12 days of age was 28_13 tumours compared with only 1.4 and 0.5 in C3H and C57BL/6, respectively. Ovariectomy increased tumour multiplicity (Poole and Drinkwater, 1996).


High lymphocyte phytohaemagglutinin response (7/43) (Heiniger et al., 1975., 1975). Serum antinuclear factor in 51% of animals (1/17) (Barnes and Tuffrey, 1967). Discriminator between `H' and `L' sheep erythrocytes (cf. 12/18) (McCarthy and Dutton, 1975). Erythrocytes have a low agglutinability (cf. 11/25) (Rubinstein et al., 1974., 1974).


Resistant to polyoma virus-induced tumours due to a resistance gene Pyvr , which did not recombine with Mtv-7. Resistance can be overcome by irradiation, indicating an immunological basis (Lukacher et al, 1995). Resistant to Mycoplasma pulmonis infection (cf 4/16) (Cartner et al, 1996).


Intermediate breeding performance (12/25), colony output 0.98 young/female/week, litter size at weaning high at 6.5 (5/25) (Festing 1976a). Poor breeding performance (24/24) (Hansen et al., 1973., 1973). High ratio of females at birth (2/11) (Cook and Vlcek, 1961).


High degree of genetic distinctiveness (6/27) (Taylor, 1972). Recommended host for transplantable pituitary tumour BW8685 (Kaliss, 1972). High incidence of spontaneous `deviants' (possible mutations) (1/21) (Schlager and Dickie, 1967).

Angel C. R., Mahin D. T., Farris R. D., and Woodward K. T. (1967) Heritability of plasma cholinesterase activity in inbred mouse strains. Science 156, 529-530. \par

Barnes R. D. and Tuffrey M. (1967) Serum antinuclear factor and the influence of environment in mice. Nature 214, 1136-1138. \par

Blizard D. A. and Welty R. (1971) Cardiac activity in the mouse: strain differences. J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 77, 337-344. \par

Bovet D., Bovet-Nitti F., and Oliverio A. (1966) Effects of nicotine on avoidance conditioning of inbred strains of mice. Psychopharmacologia 10, 1-5. \par

Bovet D., Bovet-Nitti F., and Oliverio A. (1969) Genetic aspects of learning and memory in mice. Science 163, 139-149. \par

Brown A. M. (1965) Pharmacogenetics of the mouse. Lab. Anim. Care 15, 111-118. \par

Cartner S. C., Simecka J. W., Briles D. E., Cassell G. H., and Lindsey J. R. (1996) Resistance to Mycoplasmal lung-disease in mice is a complex genetic trait. Infect. Immun. 64, 5326-5331. \par

Cook M. J. and Vlcek A. (1961) Sex ratio in mice. Nature 191, 89. \par

Deringer M. K., Dunn T. B., and Heston W. E. (1953) Results of exposure of strain C3H mice to chloroform. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 83, 474-479. \par

Festing M. F. W. and Blackmore D. K. (1971) Life span of specified-pathogen-free (MRC category 4) mice and rats. Lab. Anim. 5, 179-192. \par

Gross S. and Hutton J. (1971) Induction of hepatic -aminolaevulinic acid synthetase activity in strains of inbred mice. J. Biol. Chem. 246, 606-614. \par

Hansen C. T., Judge F. J., and Whitney R. A. (1973) Catalog of NIH rodents. National Institutes of Health. DHEW publication (NIH) 74-606, Bethesda. \par

Heiniger H. J., Chen H. W., Meier H., Taylor B. A., and Commerford L. S. (1972) Studies on the genetic control of cell proliferation. 1. Clearance of DNA-bound radioactivity in 19 inbred strains and hybrid mice. Life Sci. 11, 87-98. \par

Heiniger H. J., Taylor B. A., Hards E. J., and Meier H. (1975) Heritability of the phytohaemagglutinin responsiveness of lymphocytes and its relationship to leukemogenesis. Cancer Res. 35, 825-831. \par

Hill G. B., Osterhout S., and O'Fallon W. M. (1968) Variation in response to hyperbaric oxygen among inbred strains of mice. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 129, 687-689. \par

Hoag W. G. (1963) Spontaneous cancer in mice. Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 108, 805-831. \par

Hutton J. J. (1971) Genetic regulation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in the inbred mouse. Biochem. Genet. 5, 315-331. \par

Levy R. P., McGuire W. L., Shaw R. K., and Bartsch G. E. (1965) Effect of species differences of mice on the bioassay of thyrotropin. Endocrinol. 76, 890-894. \par

Lukacher A. E., Ma Y., Carroll J. P., AbromsonLeeman S. R., Laning J. C., Dorf M. E., and Benjamin T. L. (1995) Susceptibility to tumors induced by polyoma virus is conferred by an endogenous mouse mammary tumor virus superantigen. Journal Of Experimental Medicine 181, 1683-1692. \par

McCarthy M. M. and Dutton R. W. (1975) The humoral response of mouse spleen cells to two types of sheep erythrocytes. J. Immunol. 115, 1316-1321. \par

Murphy E. D. (1966) Characteristic tumors, in Biology of the laboratory mouse, 2nd. ed. (Green E. L., ed), pp. 521-562. McGraw-Hill, New York. \par

Pagel J., Pegram V., Vaughn S., Donaldson P., and Bridgers W. (1973) The relationship of REM sleep with learning in mice. Behav. Biol. 9, 383-388. \par

Poole T. M. and Drinkwater N. R. (1996) Strain-dependent effects of sex-hormones on hepatocarcinogenesis in mice. Carcinogenesis 17, 191-196. \par

Roberts A. and Thompson J. S. (1976) Inbred mice and their hybrids as an animal model for atherosclerosis research, in Atherosclerosis Drug Discovery (Day C. E., ed), pp. 313-327. Plenum Press, New York. \par

Roderick T. H., Wimer R. E., Wimer C. C., and Schwartzkroin P. A. (1973) Genetic and phenotypic variation in weight of brain and spinal cord between inbred strains of mice. Brain Res. 64, 345-353. \par

Rodgers D. A. (1966) Factors underlying differences in alcohol preference among inbred strains of mice. Psychosomat. Med. 28, 498-513. \par

Rubinstein P., Liu N., Strenn E. W., and Decary F. (1974) Electrophoretic mobility and agglutinability of red blood cells: a `new' polymorphism in mice. J. Exp. Med. 139, 313-322. \par

Russell E. S., Neufeld E. F., and Higgins C. T. (1951) Comparison of normal blood picture of young adults from 18 inbred strains of mice. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 78, 761-766. \par

Scheller T., Orgacka H., Szumlanski C. L., and Weinshilboum R. M. (1996) Mouse liver nicotinamide N-methyltransferase pharmacogenetics: Biochemical properties and variation in activity among inbred strains. Pharmacogenetics 6, 43-53. \par

Schlager G. and Dickie M. M. (1967) Spontaneous mutations and mutation rates in the house mouse. Genetics 57, 319-330. \par

Southwick C. H. and Clark L. H. (1966) Aggressive behaviour and exploratory activity in fourteen mouse strains. Am. Zool. 6, 559. \par

Storer J. B. (1966) Longevity and gross pathology at death in 22 inbred strains of mice. J. Gerontol. 21, 404-409. \par

Storer J. B. (1967) Relation of lifespan to brain weight, body weight and metabolic rate among inbred mouse strains. Exp. Gerontol. 2, 173-182. \par

Suran A. A. (1973) Hypoxanthine-guanine phorphoribosyl transferase in brains of mice. Regional distribution in seven inbred mouse strains. Life Sci. 13, 1779-1788. \par

Taylor B. A. (1972) Genetic relationship between inbred strains of mice. J. Hered. 63, 83-86. \par

Thompson W. R. (1953) The inheritance of behaviour: behavioural differences in fifteen mouse strains. Can. J. Psychol. 7, 145-155. \par

Tunnicliff G., Wimer C. C., and Wimer R. E. (1973) Relationships between neurotransmitter metabolism and behaviour in seven inbred strains of mice. Brain Res. 61, 428-434. \par

Valatx J. L. and Bugat R. (1974) Facteurs gènètiques dans le determinisme du cycle veille-sommeil chez la souris. Brain Res. 69, 315-330. \par

Whitmire C. E., Salerno R. A., Rabstein L. S., Heubner R. J., and Turner H. C. (1971) RNA tumour-virus antigen expression in chemically induced tumours. Virus-genome specified common antigens detected by complement fixation in mouse tumours induced by 3-methylcholanthrene. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 47, 1255-1265. \par

Wragg L. E. and Speirs R. S. (1952) Strain and sex differences in response of inbred mice to adrenal cortical hormones. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 80, 680-684. \par

Yuhas J. M. and Storer J. B. (1969) On mouse strain differences in radiation resistance: hematopoietic death and the endogenous colony-forming unit. Radiation Res. 39, 608-622. \par

Updated 9 Apr. 1998
Michael FW Festing
MRC Toxicology Unit, Hodgkin Building,
University of Leicester, UK

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