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Physiol Behav. 2007 Aug 15;91(5):632-43. Epub 2007 Apr 1.

Forty mouse strain survey of voluntary calcium intake, blood calcium, and bone mineral content.

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


We measured voluntary calcium intake, blood calcium, and bone mineral content of male and female mice from 40 inbred strains. Calcium intakes were assessed using 48-h two-bottle tests with a choice between water and one of the following: water, 7.5, 25, and 75 mM CaCl(2), then 7.5, 25, and 75 mM calcium lactate (CaLa). Intakes were affected by strain, sex, anion, and concentration. In 11 strains females consumed more calcium than did males and in the remaining 29 strains there were no sex differences. Nine strains drank more CaLa than CaCl(2) whereas only one strain (JF1/Ms) drank more CaCl(2) than CaLa. Some strains had consistently high calcium intakes and preferred all calcium solutions relative to water (e.g., PWK/PhJ, BTBR T(+)tf/J, JF1/Ms). Others had consistently low calcium intakes and avoided all calcium solutions relative to water (e.g., KK/H1J, C57BL/10J, CE/J, C58/J). After behavioral tests, blood was sampled and assayed for pH, ionized calcium concentration, and plasma total calcium concentration. Bone mineral density and content were assessed by DEXA. There were no significant correlations between any of these physiological measures and calcium intake. However, strains of mice that had the highest calcium intakes generally fell at the extremes of the physiological distributions. We conclude that the avidity for calcium is determined by different genetic architecture and thus different physiological mechanisms in different strains.

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