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Physiol Behav. 2011 Jul 6;103(5):523-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.04.006. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Body fat distribution and organ weights of 14 common strains and a 22-strain consomic panel of rats.

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  • 1Monell Chemical Senses Center, 3500 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308, USA.


The goal of this study was to determine the adiposity of a range of rat strains, including a panel of consomics, to estimate heritability. To that end, we assessed the body fat distribution and organ weights of groups of adult male rats from 3 outbred strains, 11 inbred strains and 22 consomic strains. We measured the weights of the gonadal, retroperitoneal, mesenteric, femoral, subscapular and pericardial white fat depots, the subscapular brown fat depot, the kidneys, liver, heart, spleen, and brain. Strains were compared for the measured weight of each of these adipose depots and organs, and also for these weights adjusted statistically for body size. All individual adipose depot and organ weights were highly heritable, in most cases h(2)>0.50. The fourteen inbred and outbred rat strains were not very different in body length but there was a three-fold difference in body weight, and up to a twenty-fold difference in the weight of some adipose depots. Comparison of the FHH-Chr n(BN) consomic strains with the FHH host strain revealed 98 quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for body composition and organ weight, with the introgressed chromosome reducing weight or adiposity in most cases. These results can be used to guide the choice of appropriate rat strains for future studies of the genetic architecture of obesity and body size.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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