Phenotypic characterization of mice bred for high and low peak bone mass

Robert F. Klein, Marie Shea, Michele E. Gunness, Geoffrey B. Pelz, John Belknap, Eric S. Orwoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


In humans, peak bone mineral density (BMD) is a highly heritable trait and a strong determinant of subsequent osteoporotic fracture risk. To identify the genetic factors responsible for variation in peak BMD, investigators have turned to animal models. In this study, we examined the heritability of BMD acquisition and characterized differences in skeletal geometry, histomorphometry, and biomechanical competence between two lines of mice artificially selected for extremes of peak whole body BMD. F2 progeny from a cross between C57BL/6 and DBA/2 inbred strains was used as the foundation population to develop lines selected for either high or low BMD. Whole body BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). By the third generation of selection, highest-scoring BMD (HiBMD) mice exhibited 14% greater peak BMD than lowest-scoring BMD (LoBMD) mice. The mean realized heritability of peak BMD was 36%. Femoral shaft cortical area and thickness and vertebral cancellous bone volume (BV) were significantly greater (16-30%) in the HiBMD line compared with the LoBMD line. Mean cancellous bone formation rates (BFRs) were 35% lower in HiBMD mice compared with LoBMD mice. Failure load and stiffness in the femoral shaft, femoral neck, and L6 vertebrae were all substantially greater (by 25-190%) in HiBMD mice. Thus, these divergently selected murine lines serve to illustrate some of the means by which genetic mechanisms can affect skeletal structure and remodeling. Identification of the individual genes influencing peak BMD in this experimental system will likely reveal some of the genetic determinants of overall bone strength. (J Bone Miner Res 2001;16:63-71).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • Biomechanics
  • Bone mineral density
  • Genetics
  • Histomorphometry
  • Mouse
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Phenotypic characterization of mice bred for high and low peak bone mass'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this