AGE
, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 31-37
Date: 11 Aug 2009

Thermoregulation in mice exhibits genetic variability early in senescence

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Abstract

Aging leads to a loss of thermoregulation that can be readily monitored in laboratory mice. However, it is unclear from previous studies—we provide a tabular summary of 15 articles—whether significant loss occurs by midlife (∼15 months of age). In this study, we examined 34 females from 22 LSXSS strains starting at 4 and 8 months of age (17 mice per age group). We used transponders inserted just under the loose skin of the pelt and calibrated against rectal body temperature to measure temperatures quickly without restraint. We found that the mean body temperatures measured 5 months later (9 and 13 months of age) had dropped significantly below normal in both groups: 0.6ºC lower in the younger cohort and 1.0ºC lower in the older cohort. These drops were not associated with weight loss or signs of pathology. Notably, the loss of thermoregulation between 8 and 13 months of age also exhibited genetic variation that was highly significant (P = 0.004). Such variation is potentially a powerful tool for determining the cause of thermoregulatory loss with age and whether this loss predicts senescence changes later in life, including the force of mortality.