Only a few years back in time, many of us would have viewed the mouse, from a physiological point of view, to be a miniature rat. In this month's issue, two reviews on murine physiology and experimental techniques are published, and the authors share the opinion that this is surely not the case (2, 3). In fact, Lorenz (3) sees more similarities between the mouse and rabbit than between the mouse and rat. The mouse, like the rabbit, is extremely sensitive to anesthesia and has labile blood pressure control. Legend has it that Kurt Kramer once claimed rabbits are flowers, not animals. In a table “of mice and men,” Janssen and Smits (2) provide a comparison of several human physiological parameters with those found for this increasingly popular rodent. Even within individual mouse strains, genetic diversity is rich. For instance, several articles in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology have shed light on interstrain particularities (1, 4, 5). As highlighted by Janssen and Smits (2), a fully new nomenclature was required to simply discern the various parental lines of the 129 mouse from related strains. The spreading interest in mouse models has led to several web sites providing useful information regarding data analysis, nomenclature, anatomy, and autopsy of the mouse. Several of these sites are now provided in their review.
The main emphasis of the overview by Janssen and Smits (2) is related to murine autonomic nervous control of circulation. One interesting conclusion is that mice might be particularly suited as models for diseases related to enhanced sympathetic activity, because mice reveal high levels of the prevailing sympathetic tone.
Lorenz (3) focuses more on technical aspects, in particular with regard to anesthesia, cardiovascular, renal, and pulmonary techniques. With these two expert overviews, we hope to bridge the gap between those generating mice models and those exploiting them.
- Copyright © 2002 the American Physiological Society