Aged C57BL/6J Mice

Appearance & Care

Aged B6 mouse displaying graying coat and thinning hair
Aged B6 mouse displaying graying coat and thinning hair.

Aging Characteristics

The normal coat color for the C57BL/6J mouse is non-agouti black with lighter (yellow/tan) hairs around ears, eyes, and the base of the tail; however, your aged cohort may display these natural characteristics of aging:

  • graying coat
  • thinning hair

These are normal characteristics of aging and are expected in this colony. 

Aged B6 mouse displaying barbering
Aged B6 mouse displaying barbering.
Aged B6 mouse displaying barbered muzzle
Aged B6 mouse displaying barbered muzzle.

Strain Characteristics 

In addition to normal characteristics seen as a result of aging (graying or thinning coat), certain characteristics are allowed in our aging colony after 25 weeks of age, including

  • Barbering: The type of alopecia resulting from social interaction of the mice. As a result, aged cohorts may be shipped with hair loss or thinning hair/whiskers not related to aging. Although we maintain strict protocols to prevent dermatitis in our colonies, it may develop in some mice as they age, particularly in female Aged B6J mice. 

Housing and stress reduction 

  • Never combine mice from different shipping containers. The mice in each container have been co-housed since weaning, and they will fight each other if they are housed with unfamiliar cage-mates. 
  • Minimize excess noise, vibrations, and other disturbances by placing cages away from areas of heavy traffic and maintaining some space between them and walls. 
  • Handle mice gently, slowly, quietly, and as little as possible. 
  • Enrichment materials such as cardboard tunnels and shacks may reduce barbering behavior. 

Order Notes

  • Orders cannot be placed by weight or for animals without whisker picking or hair loss.
  • We cannot accommodate requests for specific shipping configurations; mice will be packed for shipment in the groups in which they are housed in our facility, at a density of up to 10 mice per container.

Phenotype Information

Body weights of aged male and female mice are available.

Note: Many physiological characteristics can become more variable in aged mice, such as body weight.
Learn more about the Variability in Aged Mice here.

Click below to download recently updated phenotyping data including:

  • Hematology
  • Clinical chemistry
  • Body composition
  • Organ weights
  • Spleen flow cytometry showing age-dependent decreases in naïve T cells, and increases in Tregs & effector/effector memory T cells
Survival curve of C57BL/6J mice. Data are adapted from Yuan, et al. 2012 and are available in the Mouse Phenome Database.

References & Resources

Selected References


Arriola Apelo SI, Pumper CP, Baar EL, Cummings NE, Lamming DW. Intermittent Administration of Rapamycin Extends the Life Span of Female C57BL/6J Mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Jul;71(7):876-81. PMID: 27091134

Dodds SG, Livi CB, Parihar M et al. Adaptations to chronic rapamycin in mice. Pathobiol Aging Age Relat Dis. 2016 May 27;6:31688. doi: 10.3402/pba.v6.31688. PMID:27237224

Gardner LE, White JD, Eimerbrink MJ, Boehm GW, Chumley MJ. Imatinib methanesulfonate reduces hyperphosphorylation of tau following repeated peripheral exposure to lipopolysaccharide. Neuroscience. 2016 Sep 7;331:72-7.  PMID: 27320209

Joanisse S, Nederveen JP, Baker JM, Snijders T, Iacono C, Parise G. Exercise conditioning in old mice improves skeletal muscle regeneration. FASEB J. 2016 Jun 15. pii: fj.201600143RR. PMID: 27306336

Kan NW, Ho CS, Chiu YS, Huang WC, Chen PY, Tung YT, Huang CC. Effects of Resveratrol Supplementation and Exercise Training on Exercise Performance in Middle-Aged Mice. Molecules. 2016 May 18;21(5). pii: E661. doi: 10.3390/molecules21050661.PMID: 27213310

Krishnan VS, White Z, McMahon CD, Hodgetts SI, Fitzgerald M, Shavlakadze T, Harvey AR, Grounds MD. A Neurogenic Perspective of Sarcopenia: Time Course Study of Sciatic Nerves From Aging Mice. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2016 May;75(5):464-78. PMID: 27030741

Lee BP, Pilling LC, Emond F, Flurkey K, Harrison DE, Yuan R, Peters LL, Kuchel GA, Ferrucci L, Melzer D, Harries LW. Changes in the expression of splicing factor transcripts and variations in alternative splicing are associated with lifespan in mice and humans. Aging Cell. 2016 Jun 30. doi: 10.1111/acel.12499. PMID: 27363602

Mock BE, Vijayakumar S, Pierce J, Jones TA, Jones SM. Differential effects of Cdh23(753A) on auditory and vestibular functional aging in C57BL/6J mice. PMID: 27255811

Oh YS, Seo EH, Lee YS ET AL. increase of Calcium Sensing Receptor Expression Is Related to Compensatory Insulin Secretion during Aging in Mice. PLoS One. 2016 Jul 21;11(7):e0159689.  PMID: 27441644

Perry RA Jr, Brown LA, Lee DE, Brown JL, Baum JI, Greene NP, Washington TA. Differential effects of leucine supplementation in young and aged mice at the onset of skeletal muscle regeneration. Mech Ageing Dev. 2016 Jun 18;157:7-16. PMID: 27327351

Wang L, Du Y, Wang K, Xu G, Luo S, He G. Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion induces memory deficits and facilitates Aβ generation in C57BL/6J mice. Exp Neurol. 2016 Jul 12;283(Pt A):353-364. PMID: 27421879

White Z, White RB, McMahon C, Grounds MD, Shavlakadze T. High mTORC1 signaling is maintained, while protein degradation pathways are perturbed in old murine skeletal muscles in the fasted state. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2016 Jun 22;78:10-21. PMID:  27343428


Allard JS, Perez EJ, Fukui K, Carpenter P, Ingram DK, de Cabo R. Prolonged metformin treatment leads to reduced transcription of Nrf2 and neurotrophic factors without cognitive impairment in older C57BL/6J mice. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Mar 15;301:1-9. PMID:  26698400

Hayama T, Murakami K, Watanabe T, Maeda R, Kamata M, Kondo S. Single administration of a novel γ-secretase modulator ameliorates cognitive dysfunction in aged C57BL/6J mice. Brain Res. 2016 Feb 15;1633:52-61. PMID: 26707406

M. L. Porto et al. Reactive oxygen species contribute to dysfunction of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells in aged C57BL/6 J mice. Journal of Biomedical Science 2015, 22:97. PMID: 26498041

Romanova EV, Rubakhin SS, Ossyra JR, Zombeck JA, Nosek MR, Sweedler JV, Rhodes JS. Differential peptidomics assessment of strain and age differences in mice in response to acute cocaine administration. J Neurochem. 2015 Dec;135(5):1038-48. PMID: 26223348


Kane AE, Hilmer SN, Boyer D, Gavin K, Nines D, Howlett SE, de Cabo R, Mitchell SJ. Impact of Longevity Interventions on a Validated Mouse Clinical Frailty Index. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Mar;71(3):333-9. PMID: 25711530

Saroja SR, Kim EJ, Shanmugasundaram B, Höger H, Lubec G. Hippocampal monoamine receptor complex levels linked to spatial memory decline in the aging C57BL/6J. Behav Brain Res. 2014 May 1;264:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.01.042. PMID:  24508236

Shanks RA, Ross JM, Doyle HH, Helton AK, Picou BN, Schulz J, Tavares C, Bryant S, Dawson BL, Lloyd SA. Adolescent exposure to cocaine, amphetamine, and methylphenidate cross-sensitizes adults to methamphetamine with drug- and sex-specific effects. Behav Brain Res. 2015 Mar 15;281:116-24. PMID: 25496784

Zhang Y, Brownstein AJ, Buonora M, Niikura K, Ho A, Correa da Rosa J, Kreek MJ, Ott J. Self administration of oxycodone alters synaptic plasticity gene expression in the hippocampus differentially in male adolescent and adult mice. Neuroscience. 2015 Jan 29;285:34-46. PMID: 25446355

2013 and earlier

Neff F, Flores-Dominguez D  et al. Rapamycin extends murine lifespan but has limited effects on aging. J Clin Invest. 2013. 123(8):3272-91. PMID:23863708

Ackert-Bicknell CL. HDL cholesterol and bone mineral density: Is there a genetic link? Bone. 2012 Feb;50(2):525-33. PMID: 21810493

Steegenga WT, de Wit NJ, Boekschoten MV,et al. Structural, functional and molecular analysis of the effects of aging in the small intestine and colon of C57BL/6J mice. BMC Med Genomics. 2012 Aug 28;5:38. doi: 10.1186/1755-8794-5-38. PMID: 22929163

Wilkinson JE, Burmeister L, Brooks SV, Chan CC, Friedline S, Harrison DE, Hejtmancik JF, Nadon N, Strong R, Wood LK, Woodward MA, Miller RA. Rapamycin slows aging in mice.  Aging Cell. 2012 Aug;11(4):675-82. PMID: 22587563

Capel F, Delmotte MH, Brun M, Lonchampt M, De Fanti B, Xuereb L, Baschet L, Rolland G, Galizzi JP, Lockhart B, Ktorza A, Dacquet C. Aging and obesity induce distinct gene expression adaptation in the liver of C57BL/6J mice. J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2011;4(3):154-64. PMID: 21757924

Li Q, Zhao H, Zhao M, Zhang Z, Li Y. Chronic green tea catechins administration prevents oxidative stress-related brain aging in C57BL/6J mice. Brain Res. 2010 Sep 24;1353:28-35. PMID: 20682303

Elbaz A, Rivas D, Duque G. Effect of estrogens on bone marrow adipogenesis and Sirt1 in aging C57BL/6J mice. Biogerontology. 2009 Dec;10(6):747-55. PMID: 19333775

KI Andreasson, A Savonenko, S Vidensky  Age-dependent cognitive deficits and neuronal apoptosis in cyclooxygenase-2 transgenic mice. The Journal of Neuroscience 2001 21(20): 8198-8209. PMID: 11588192


JAX Aging Center Publications

The JAX Aging Center uses diverse expertise in biology and genomics on the problems and disorders associated with aging, building a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms at work in lifespan and health span. View publications featuring the aged B6 and other mouse models from JAX. 

Aging Research Data from the Mouse Phenome Database

The Mouse Phenome Database (MPD) is the major venue for public dissemination of data generated by the Nathan Shock Center’s Cores and outreach to the wider aging research community. MPD provides public access to median lifespan and Kaplan-Meier survival curves for males and females, as well as phenotypic and genotypic data for all strains.

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