Spontaneous exocrine pancreas hypoplasia in specific pathogen-free C3HeB/FeJ and 101/H mouse pups causes steatorrhea and runting

Michael T. Cheeseman*, Nikki Chrobot, Martin D. Fray, Adrian A. Deeny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under specific pathogen-free conditions, 1.3% to 1.8% of litters born in our inbred 101/H and C3HeB/FeJ mouse colonies had pups with steatorrhea and runting. Clinically affected male and female pups were first identified when they were from 14 to 25 d old. Unaffected littermates were healthy and were weaned successfully. Postmortem findings in 8 clinically affected mice included a small, poorly differentiated exocrine pancreas comprising cytokeratin-negative duct-like structures but lacking recognizable acinar cells with their normal carboxypeptidase B-positive zymogen granules. Endocrine pancreas islets were unremarkable and contained insulin-positive beta cells and glucagon-positive alpha cells. There was mild inflammation of the hindgut but no evidence of intestinal pathogens or marked inflammation or necrosis of pancreas, either alone or as part of a multisystemic inflammatory condition. Sera from pups in 4 affected litters did not contain antibodies to reovirus 3, mouse coronavirus, rotavirus, or mouse adenovirus 2. Furthermore, 4 sets of parental mice and sentinel mice from the facility were negative for 13 viruses, bacteria, and parasites. C3HeB/FeJ and 101/H inbred strains may be genetically predisposed because the steatorrhea and runting was absent in 13 other mouse strains and subspecies bred in the specific pathogen-free facility. This condition resembles exocrine pancreas hypoplasia, but the inheritance is complex. A wider implication is that runting coupled with steatorrhea are phenotypic criteria to suspect pancreatic disease that could be used in the context of a mouse N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-mutagenesis program to identify potential mutants with defects in pancreas development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalComparative medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007




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