Mouse models are frequently used to study mechanisms of human diseases. Recently, we observed a spontaneous bimodal variation in liver weight in C57BL/6JOlaHsd mice fed a semisynthetic diet. We now characterized the spontaneous variation in liver weight and its relationship with parameters of hepatic lipid and bile acid (BA) metabolism. In male C57BL/6JOlaHsd mice fed AIN-93G from birth to postnatal day (PN)70, we measured plasma BA, lipids, Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-triglyceride (TG) secretion, and hepatic mRNA expression patterns. Mice were sacrificed at PN21, PN42, PN63 and PN70. Liver weight distribution was bimodal at PN70. Mice could be subdivided into two nonoverlapping groups based on liver weight: 0.6 SD 0.1 g (approximately one-third of mice, small liver; SL), and 1.0 SD 0.1 g (normal liver; NL; p<0.05). Liver histology showed a higher steatosis grade, inflammation score, more mitotic figures and more fibrosis in the SL versus the NL group. Plasma BA concentration was 14-fold higher in SL (p<0.001). VLDL-TG secretion rate was lower in SL mice, both absolutely (-66%, p<0.001) and upon correction for liver weight (-44%, p<0.001). Mice that would later have the SL-phenotype showed lower food efficiency ratios during PN21-28, suggesting the cause of the SL phenotype is present at weaning (PN21). Our data show that approximately one-third of C57BL/6JOlaHsd mice fed semisynthetic diet develop spontaneous liver disease with aberrant histology and parameters of hepatic lipid, bile acid and lipoprotein metabolism. Study designs involving this mouse strain on semisynthetic diets need to take the SL phenotype into account. Plasma lipids may serve as markers for the identification of the SL phenotype.
- NONALCOHOLIC STEATOHEPATITIS
- METABOLIC ADAPTATION