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Inbred Strains of Mice: SWR


Inbr: F148 (J). Albino. Genet: c, rd. Origin: Swiss mice from A. de Coulon of Lausanne, inbred by Lynch from about 1926 (Lynch, 1969). Now widely used in research as a general-purpose strain. Develops extreme polydipsia and polyuria on ageing. Maint. by J, Ola.


Low percent carcass lipid on a high-fat diet (1/9) (West et al 1992).


Low intrastrain aggression (11/14) (Southwick and Clark, 1966). High avoidance conditionability (1/9) (Royce, 1972). Poor T-maze learning (5/6) (Stasik, 1970). Low spontaneous bar-pressing activity (14/14) (Southwick and Clark, 1968). Ten "non-taster" congenic strains on the SWR "taster" genetic background have been developed by repeated backcrossing with selection for inability to taste bitter compounds including raffinose undecaacetate, glucose pentaacetate and brucine (Harder et al, 1996).

Life-span and spontaneous disease

Life-span in conventional conditions intermediate in males (14/22 = 616 days) but short in females (7/22 = 496 days) (Storer, 1966). Pulmonary tumours 80% in mice living to 18 months (Heston, 1963). Mammary tumours 7-28% (Deringer, 1970). Develops extreme polydipsia and polyuria (nephrogenic diabetes insipidus) on ageing (Kutscher et al., 1975; Kutscher and Schmalback, 1975k, 1975). Low gross tumour incidence in females (19/22) (Storer, 1967). One or more tumours found in 62% of mice. Lung tumours 36%, mammary tumours 30% (Rabstein et al., 1973., 1973). Arteriosclerosis common (Russell and Meier, 1966). About 10-25% of SWRxSWXJ-9 F1 hybrid mice spontaneously develop granulosa cell tumours. These secrete inhibin, which can be used as a marker for tumour-bearing animals (Gocze et al, 1997).

Normal physiology and biochemistry

High metabolic rate (4/18) (Storer, 1967). High serum ceruloplasmin levels (7/27 in females, 7/26 in males) (Meier and MacPike, 1968). High systolic blood pressure (1/19) (Schlager and Weibust, 1967). Low plasma cholesterol levels (3/11) but high triglyceride levels (10/11) (Jiao et al 1990). Low sensitivity to thyrotropin (18/21) (Levy et al., 1965., 1965). Low erythrocyte catalase (15/18) (Hoffman and Rechcigl, 1971). High kidney and liver arylsulphatase activity (3/12) (Daniel, 1976). High spermatazoal beta-glucuronidase activity (1/9) (Erickson, 1976). Arterial blood has a high pH (1/10) (Bernstein, 1966). Low hepatic delta-aminolaevulinic acid synthetase activity after DDC treatment (12/15) (Gross and Hutton, 1971). Resistant to the development of obesity assocaited with adipocyte insensitivity to insulin (contrast AKR/J) (Eberhart et al, 1994). Consume 30% fewer calories than susceptible AKR mice,with a significantly higher intake of carbohydrate (62 vs 24%) (Smith et al, 1997).


High susceptibility to transplacental tumour induction by 1-ethyl-1-nitrosourea (2/5) (Diwan et al., 1973., 1973). Resistant to skin ulceration by DMBA (cf. 9/22) (Thomas et al., 1973., 1973). Resistant to the development of uterine tumours following treatment with DMBA at 4-weeks of age (cf 3/6) (Tsubura et al, 1993). Susceptible to colon carcinogenesis by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (cf. 3/7) (Evans et al., 1977., 1977). Resistant to teratogenic effects of acetazolamide (6/6) (Green et al., 1973., 1973). Susceptible to `CNS syndrome' from high doses of X-irradiation (5/5) (Yuhas, 1968). Long survival in 90% oxygen (2/10) (Lieberman and Kellog, 1967). Low LD50 to X-irradiation (8/9) (Yuhas and Storer, 1969). Sensitive to X-irradiation (9/10 females, 7/10 males) (Storer, 1966). Susceptible to toxic effects of isoniazid (9/10) (Taylor, 1976b). Sensitive to seizures induced by nicotine (17/19) (Marks et al 1989). Low voluntary comsumption of morphine in two-bottle choice situation (15/15) (Belknap et al, 1993). A diet containing 15% dairy fat, 1% cholesterol and 0.5% cholic acid caused a high incidence of cholesterol gallstones (like C57L, A, contrast SM, AKR, DBA/2) (Faulkner et al, 1995). Prolonged administration of 2mg 5-aminolevulinic acid/ml of drinking water resulted in uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase insufficiency (11% of controls) and uroporphyria within eight weeks (contrast DBA/2) (Constantin et al, 1996).


Susceptible to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) (2/18) (Levine and Sowinski, 1973). High susceptibility to EAE (2/10) with high severity (1/10) and mortality (2/10) and spontaneous relapse (4/10) (Lindsey, 1996).Low lymphocyte phytohaemmagglutinin response (36/43) (Heiniger et al., 1975., 1975). Poor immune response to low doses of bovine gammaglobulin (cf. 4/8) (Levine and Vaz, 1970). Poor immune response to ovomucoid, but good response to ovalbumin (cf. 6/12) (Vaz et al., 1971., 1971). Large quantity of antibody produced (2/7), but only intermediate relative affinity (4/7) (Alpers et al., 1972., 1972). Erythrocytes have low agglutinability (cf. 11/25) (Rubinstein et al., 1974., 1974). Susceptible to induction of experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (cf. 3/5) (Vladutiu and Rose, 1971a). Resistant to the induction of arthritis by type II collagen (Ortman et al, 1994). Develop allergic conjunctivitis and specific anti-ragweel IgE following topical exposure of the nasal and conjunctival mucosa ragweed. The effects were reduced in mice treated with nedocromil sodium (Marayo-Lloves et al, 1996).


Susceptible to herpes simplex virus (10/11) (Lopez, 1975). Susceptible to LCM virus infection (5/5) (Oldstone and Dixon, 1968). Encephalomyocarditis virus causes diabetes mellitus (cf. 7/14) (Boucher et al., 1975., 1975). In contrast to ten other strains, it does not carry type I and II endogenous type C viruses (cf. NZB) (Stephenson et al., 1975., 1975). Carries no detectable endogenous ecotropic MuLV DNA sequences (Jenkins et al 1982). Susceptible to immune-mediated central nervous system demyelination following infection with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. This is genetically dominant. One copy of H2q is sufficient for the disease, but an additional non-H2 gene is also implicated (Nicholson et al, 1995).

Rapid immunological expulsion of Trichinella spiralis worms (Wakelin and Donachie 1980). Susceptible to Lyme borreliosis (Borrelia burgdorferi) when inoculated at 3 weeks of age (2/5) and as adults. Mice inoculated at age 3 weeks also developed polyarthritis. (Barthold et al 1990). Mouse mammary tumor proviral loci have been identified by Lee and Eicher (1990). An ecotropic murine leukemia virus (MuLV) isolate can infect the thecal cells surrounding the follicles in the ovary and the Leydig cells in the testis. Both types actively synthesize viral RNA and express a viral antigen and can infect the germ line or the early embryo or both when inoculated at birth (Panthier et al 1989).

Pattern of infection with Leishmania major depends on site of innoculation of parasite, in contrast with BALB/c and most other mouse strains, where route of infection is not critical (Nabors and Farrell, 1994).

Develop severe myocarditis following infection with Coxsackie virus B3 (Zhang et al, 1994).


Prolific ovulators in response to exogenous hormones and the one-cell embryos have large and prominant pronuclei with good resistance to lysis following microinjection. The strain, like strain FVB, is highly suitable for the propogation of transgenes particularly as it is genetically well defined (Osman et al, 1997)


High degree of genetic distinctiveness (1/27) (Taylor, 1972). Large brain/body weight ratio (5/20) (Roderick et al., 1973., 1973).

Alpers J. H., Steward M. W., and Southill J. E. (1972) Differences in immune elimination in inbred mice. The role of low affinity antibody. Clin. Exp. Immunol. 12, 121-132. \par

Barthold S. W., Beck D. S., Hansen G. M., Terwilliger G. A., and Moody K. D. (1990) Lyme borreliosis in selected strains and ages of laboratory mice. J. Infect. Dis. 162, 133-138. \par

Belknap J. K., Crabbe J. C., Riggan J., and O'Toole L. A. (1993) Voluntary consumption of morphine in 15 inbred mouse strains. Psychopharmacology 112, 352-358. \par

Bernstein S. E. (1966) Physiological characteristics, in Biology of the Laboratory Mouse, 2nd. ed. (Green E. L., ed), pp. 337-350. McGraw-Hill, New York. \par

Boucher D. W., Hayashi K., Rosenthal J., and Notkins A. L. (1975) Virus-induced diabetes mellitus. III. Influence of sex and strain of host. J. Infect. Dis. 131, 462-466. \par

Constantin D., Francis J. E., Akhtar R. A., Clothier B., and Smith A. G. (1996) Uroporphyria induced by 5-aminolaevulinic acid alone in Ahrd SWR mice. Biochemical Pharmacology 52, 1407-1413. \par

Daniel W. L. (1976) Genetics of murine liver and kidney arylsulfatase B. Genetics 82, 477-491. \par

Deringer M. K. (1970) Mammary tumors in strains BL/LyDe and SWR/LyDe mice. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 45, 215-218. \par

Diwan B. A., Meier H., and Huebner R. J. (1973) Transplacental effects of 1- ethyl-1-nitrosourea in inbred strains of mice. III. Association between infectious or subinfectious endogenous type-C-RNA tumour virus expression and chemically induced tumorigenesis. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 51, 1965-1970. \par

Eberhart G. P., West D. B., Boozer C. N., and Atkinson R. L. (1994) Insulin sensitivity of adipocytes from inbred mouse strains resistant or sensitive to diet-induced obesity. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 266, R1423-R1428. \par

Erickson R. P. (1976) Strain variation in spermatazoal -glucuronidase in mice. Genet. Res. 28, 139-145. \par

Evans J. T., Shows T. B., Sproul E. E., Paolini N. S., Mittelman A., and Hauschka T. S. (1977) Genetics of colon carcinogenesis in mice treated with 1, 2-dimethylhydrazine. Cancer Res. 37, 134-136. \par

Faulkner C. B., Davidson M. K., Davis J. K., Schoeb T. R., Simecka J. W., and Lindsey J. R. (1995) Acute Mycoplasma pulmonis infection associated with coagulopathy in C3H/HeN mice. Lab. Animal Sci. 45, 368-372. \par

Gocze P. M., Beamer W. G., De Jong F. H., and Freeman D. A. (1997) Hormone synthesis and responsiveness of spontaneous granulosa cell tumors in (SWR x SWXJ-9) F1 mice. Gynecologic Oncology 65, 143-148. \par

Green M. C., Azar C. A., and Maren T. H. (1973) Strain differences in susceptibility to the teratogenic effect of acetazolamide in mice. Teratology 8, 143-145. \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

Harder D. B., Gannon K. S., and Whitney G. (1996) SW. B6-Soab nontaster congenic strains completed and a sucrose octaacetate congenic quartet tested with other bitters. Chemical Senses 21, 507-517. \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

Heston W. E. (1963) Genetics of neoplasia, in Methodology in mammalian genetics (Burdette W. J., ed), pp. 247-268. Holden-Day, San Francisco. \par

Hoffman H. A. and Rechcigl M. Jr. (1971) Erythrocyte catalase in inbred mice. Enzyme 12, 219-225. \par

Jenkins N. A., Copeland N. G., Taylor B. A., and Lee B. K. (1982) Organization, distribution, and stability of endogenous ecotropic murine leukemia virus DNA sequences in chromosomes of Mus musculus. J. Virol. 43, 26-36. \par

Jiao S., Cole T. G., Kitchens R., Pfleger B., and Schonfeld G. (1990) Genetic heterogeneity of lipoproteins in inbred strains of mice: analysis by gel-permeation chromatography. Metabolism 39, 155-160. \par

Kutscher C. L. and Schmalbach N. L. (1975) Effects of water deprivation, NaCl injection, and seven aversive taste stimuli on drinking in two normal mouse strains and one with diabetes insipidus. Physiol. Behav. 15, 659-667. \par

Lee B. K. and Eicher E. M. (1990) Segregation patterns of endogenous mouse mammary tumor viruses in five recombinant inbred strain sets [published erratum appears in J Virol 1991 Mar;65(3):1666]. J. Virol. 64, 4568-4572. \par

Levine B. B. and Vaz N. M. (1970) Effect of combinations of inbred strain, antigen and antigen dose on immune responsiveness and reagin production in the mouse. Int. Arch. Allergy 39, 156-171. \par

Levine S. and Sowinski R. (1973) Experimental allergic encephelomyelitis in inbred and outbred mice. J. Immunol. 110, 139-143. \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

Lieberman J. and Kellog F. (1967) Hyaline-membrane formation and pulmonary plasminogen-activator activity in various strains of mice. Pediatrics 39, 75-81. \par

Lindsey J. W. (1996) Characteristics of initial and reinduced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Immunogenet. 44, 292-297. \par

Lopez C. (1975) Genetics of natural resistance to herpes virus infections in mice. Nature 258, 152-153. \par

Lynch C. J. (1969) The so-called Swiss Mouse. Lab. Anim. Care 19, 214-220. \par

Marks M. J., Stitzel J. A., and Collins A. C. (1989) Genetic influences on nicotine responses. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 33, 667-678. \par

Meier H. and MacPike A. D. (1968) Levels and heritability of serum ceruloplasmin activity in inbred strains of mice. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 128, 1185-1190. \par

Nabors G. S. and Farrell J. P. (1994) Site-specific immunity to Leishmania major in SWR mice: The site of infection influences susceptibility and expression of the antileishmanial immune response. Infect. Immun. 62, 3655-3662. \par

Nicholson S. M., Jokinen D. M., Dal Canto M. C., Kim B. S., and Melvold R. W. (1995) Genetic analysis of susceptibility to Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus-induced demyelinating disease in the SWR strain. J. Neuroimmunol. 59, 19-28. \par

Oldstone M. B. A. and Dixon F. J. (1968) Susceptibility of different mouse strains to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. J. Immunol. 100, 355-357. \par

Ortman R. A., Holderbaum D., Qu X. M., Banerjee S., and Haqqi T. M. (1994) BUB/BnJ (H-2(q)) is a TCR deletion mutant mouse strain (TCR Vbetaa, KJ16- ) that is susceptible to type II collagen-induced arthritis. J. Immunol. 152, 4175-4182. \par

Osman G. E., Jacobson D. P., Li S. W., Hood L. E., Liggitt H. D., and Ladiges W. C. (1997) SWR: An inbred strain suitable for generating transgenic mice. Lab. Animal Sci. 47, 167-171. \par

Panthier J. J., Gounon P., Condamine H., and Jacob F. (1989) Pattern of expression of ecotropic murine leukemia virus in gonads of inoculated SWR/J mice. J. Virol. 63, 2134-2142. \par

Rabstein L. S., Peters R. L., and Spahn G. J. (1973) Spontaneous tumors and pathologic lesions in SWR/J mice. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 50, 751-758. \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

Royce J. R. (1972) Avoidance conditioning in nine strains of inbred mice using optimal stimulus parameters. Behav. Genet. 2, 107-110. \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. and Meier H. (1966) Constitutional diseases, in Biology of the Laboratory Mouse, 2nd. ed. (Green E. L., ed), pp. 571-587. McGraw-Hill, New York. \par

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

Smith B. K., West D. B., and York D. A. (1997) Carbohydrate versus fat intake: Differing patterns of macronutrient selection in two inbred mouse strains. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 41, R357-R362. \par

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

Southwick C. H. and Clark L. H. (1968) Interstrain differences in aggressive behaviour and exploratory activity of inbred mice. Commun. Behav. Biol. Part A 1, 49-59. \par

Stasik J. H. (1970) Inheritance of T-maze learning in mice. J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 71, 251-257. \par

Stephenson J. R., Reynolds R. K., Tronick S. R., and Aaronson S. A. (1975) Distribution of three classes of endogenous type-C RNA viruses among inbred strains of mice. Virology 67, 404-414. \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

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

Thomas P. E., Hutton J. J., and Taylor B. A. (1973) Genetic relationship between aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase inducibility and chemical carcinogen induced skin ulceration in mice. Genetics 74, 655-659. \par

Tsubura A., Senzaki H., Oyaizu T., Fujita Y., and Morii S. (1993) Strain differences in neoplastic response to DMBA-induced uterine vascular tumors in mice. International Journal of Oncology 2, 927-930. \par

Vaz N. M., Phillips-Quagliata J. M., Levine B. B., and Vaz E. M. (1971) H-2 linked genetic control of immune responsiveness to ovalbumin and ovomucoid. J. Exp. Med. 134, 1335-1348. \par

Wakelin D. and Donachie A. M. (1980) Genetic control of immunity to parasites: adoptive transfer of immunity between inbred strains of mice characterized by rapid and slow immune expulsion of Trichinella spiralis. Parasite Immunol. 2, 249-260. \par

West D. B., Boozer C. N., Moody D. L., and Atkinson R. L. (1992) Dietary obesity in nine inbred mouse strains. Am. J. Physiol. 262, R1025-R1032. \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

Yuhas J. M. (1968) The central nervous system syndrome of the mouse: effects of strain, age, and conditioning exposure. Radiation Res. 35, 714-721. \par

Zhang H., Yousef G. E., Ouyang X., and Archard L. C. (1994) Characterization of a murine model of myocarditis induced by a reactivated Coxsackievirus B3. International Journal of Experimental Pathology 75, 99-110. \par

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

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