Evaluation of tarsal injuries in C57BL/6J male mice. PLoS One. 2023;18(6):e0287204
JMG, Mice, Male, Animals, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Motor Activity, Frailty, Morphine, Pain
PLoS One. 2023;18(6):e0287204
Tarsal joint abnormalities have been observed in aged male mice on a C57BL background. This joint disease consists of calcaneal displacement, inflammation, and proliferation of car- tilage and connective tissue, that can progress to ankylosis of the joint. While tarsal pathol- ogy has been described previously in C57BL/6N substrains, as well as in STR/ort and B10. BR strain, no current literature describes this disease occurring in C57BL/6J mice. More importantly the behavioral features that may result from such a change to the joint have yet to be evaluated. This condition was observed in older male mice of the C57BL/6J lineage, around the age of 20 weeks or older, at a frequency of 1% of the population. To assess potential phenotypic sequela, this study sought to evaluate body weight, frailty assessment, home cage wheel running, dynamic weight bearing, and mechanical allodynia with and with- out the presence of pain relief with morphine. Overall mice with tarsal injuries had signifi- cantly higher frailty scores (p< 0.05) and weighed less (p<0.01) compared to unaffected mice. Affected mice had greater overall touch sensitivity (p<0.05) and they placed more weight on their forelimbs (p<0.01) compared to their hind limbs. Lastly, when housed with a running wheel, affected mice ran for a shorter length of time (p<0.01) but tended to run a greater distance within the time they did run (p<0.01) compared to unaffected mice. When tested just after being given morphine, the affected mice performed more similarly to unaf- fected mice, suggesting there is a pain sensation to this disease process. This highlights the importance of further characterizing inbred mouse mutations, as they may impact research programs or specific study goals.