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BMC Genet. 2013 May 4;14:35. doi: 10.1186/1471-2156-14-35.

Genetic background (DDD/Sgn versus C57BL/6J) strongly influences postnatal growth of male mice carrying the A(y) allele at the agouti locus: identification of quantitative trait loci associated with diabetes and body weight loss.

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Agrogenomics Research Center, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8634, Japan.



Mice carrying the A(y) allele at the agouti locus become obese and are heavier than their non-A(y) littermates. However, this does not hold true for the genetic background of the DDD mouse strain. At 22 weeks of age, DDD.Cg-A(y) females are heavier than DDD females, whereas DDD.Cg-A(y) males are lighter than DDD males. This study aimed to determine the possible cause and identify the genes responsible for the lower body weight of DDD.Cg-A(y) males.


Growth curves of DDD.Cg-A(y) mice were analyzed and compared with those of B6.Cg-A(y) mice from 5 to 25 weeks. In DDD.Cg-A(y) males, body weight gain stopped between 16 and 17 weeks and the body weight gradually decreased; thus, the lower body weight was a consequence of body weight loss. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping was performed in backcrossed (BC) males of DDD × (B6 × DDD.Cg-A(y)) F(1)-A(y) mice. For the body weight at 25 weeks, significant QTLs were identified on chromosomes 1 and 4. The DDD allele was associated with a lower body weight at both loci. In particular, the QTL on chromosome 4 interacted with the A(y) allele. Furthermore, suggestive QTLs for plasma glucose and high molecular weight adiponectin levels were coincidentally mapped to chromosome 4. The DDD allele was associated with increased glucose and decreased adiponectin levels. When the body weight at 25 weeks and plasma glucose levels were considered as dependent and independent variables, respectively, BC A(y) males were classified into two groups according to statistical analysis using the partition method. Mice of one group had significantly higher glucose and lower adiponectin levels than those of the other group and exhibited body weight loss as observed with DDD-A(y) males.


The lower body weight of DDD.Cg-A(y) male mice was a consequence of body weight loss. Diabetes mellitus has been suggested to be a possible contributory factor causing body weight loss. The QTL on distal chromosome 4 contained the major responsible genes. This QTL interacted with the Ay allele, implying the reason why body weight loss occurs in DDD.Cg-Ay but not in DDD males.

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