The effect of culling on health and physiology of mouse litters.

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Lab Anim 2014 Feb 14; 48(3):207-215.




Large mouse litters are often culled based on the premise of better survival and growth for the remaining pups. To test whether the culling of litters does provide the benefits of improved survival and growth, mortality and growth were measured in 468 litters of C57BL/6J × 129S1/SvImJ F1 hybrid mice that were unculled or culled to four or six pups per litter. In addition, a limited number of weanlings were evaluated until three months of age for growth, health and physiological measurements. Most measurements did not differ among the cull groups. These included mortality, organ weights (adrenals, kidneys and testes), bone mineral density, percent fat, 12 of the 17 blood parameters, and three of the seven electrocardiographic (EKG) parameters. Several parameters, including five of the 17 blood parameters and four of the seven EKG parameters, showed statistical differences, but all values were physiologically normal. Unculled weanlings showed a reduced weight of 4%, but this weight difference disappeared by three months. These results suggest that mice in culled litters do not demonstrate improved health compared with those in unculled litters. Lab Anim 2014 Feb 14; 48(3):207-215.