Mouse populations differing in metabolic rate have been developed through selection for high (MH) and low (ML) heat loss (HLOSS), along with randomly selected controls (MC). Objectives of this study were to (a) compare MH, ML and MC lines for HLOSS and correlated traits of feed intake, body composition and organ weights; (b) compare three widely used inbred mouse lines with MH, ML and MC for the same traits; and (c) investigate potential genotype by diet interaction resulting from feeding diets differing in fat percentage. Heat loss (kcal/day) of MH and ML mice differed by 37% of the mean and remained significant (33%) when HLOSS was expressed on a fat-free mass basis. MH mice consumed more energy than ML with a greater difference in mice fed high-fat compared with standard diets (27% vs 13.9%). Despite greater energy consumption, MH mice were leaner than ML with a difference in total body fat percentage of 40%. The greatest difference in HLOSS between selection and inbred lines was between MH and C57BL/6J (BL), which differed by 26.3%. MH and BL mice also differed in energy intake (15.5%). Body composition of BL mice was similar to MH when fed a standard diet, but similar to ML when fed a high-fat diet. Crosses between MH and ML or between MH and BL would be useful to investigate the genetic regulation of, and identify quantitative trait loci influencing HLOSS, energy intake and body composition. Feeding of a high-fat diet may allow diet-specific loci influencing body composition to be identified in MH and BL lines.
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