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Mouse Strains

DBA/1J Mouse Strain

By October 15, 2019No Comments


DBA/1J, also known as DBA/1 or D1, is an inbred mouse strain that is used for a range of research applications, most commonly arthritis.[1]


The DBA family is the oldest of all inbred model mouse strain families. It was founded in 1909 by Little after selectively breeding for coat color. DBA/1 and DBA/2 emerged from a series of crosses carried out in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The exact nature of these crosses is not detailed.[2][3]

DBA/1 and DBA/2 diverged so much genetically over time that it may be more proper to regard them as completely separate strains rather than members of the same family. DBA/1 passed to Fekete in 1936, to Hummel in 1947 and then to the Jackson Laboratory in 1948.[3]

Physical Characteristics

DBA/1J mice have light brown fur, which is sometimes a silver-greyish color with weanlings.[1][3] They also have a low brain weight and a higher than average number of Peyer’s patches (follicles in the small intestine involved with immune response). A high proportion have short tails at weaning age.[2][3]

Behavioral Characteristics & Handling

The Jackson Laboratory Handbook states that DBA/1 is a difficult strain to handle. These mice are said to be “jumpy”, especially when young, with infant mice being “hyperactive”. They are also reported to make a lot of noise when picked up.[3] Researchers requiring a particularly docile strain will not want to choose DBA/1.

DBA/1 mice show a low preference for sweet tasting substances in the sucrose preference test, indicating anhedonia and a possible depression-like condition.[4] Inconsistent results are reported with this strain in the open field test with some authors reporting low activity and others reporting high activity.[5][6] DBA/1 are described as good breeders but also with “lots of missing pups”.[3]

Health Characteristics

These mice develop severe rheumatoid arthritis in response to immunization with type II collagen and a subsequent autoimmune response. The arthritis is associated with synovitis and erosion of the cartilage and bone. Less than 100% of the exposed individuals will develop the condition.[1]

Arthritis is not the only autoimmune issue present in this strain. They will also, in response to challenge with antigens, develop immune-mediated nephritis with protein in the urine, glomerulonephritis and tubulointerstitial disease.[3]

75% of breeding DBA/1 females above one year of age develop mammary tumors. DBA/1 mice also have a tendency to develop atherosclerosis when fed an atherogenic diet, are susceptible to audiogenic seizures, exhibit hearing loss from 10 months of age due to mutant cadherin 23, and have a high incidence of calcareous deposits in the heart and tongue.[3]

Major Experimental Uses

DBA/1 mice are most commonly used in research into rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other autoimmune conditions. They can also serve well for research into kidney disease, hearing loss, atherosclerosis, seizures, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.


  1. 000670 – DBA/1J. 2019. 000670 – DBA/1J. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 September 2019].
  2. MGI – Inbred Strains: DBA. 2019. MGI – Inbred Strains: DBA. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 September 2019].
  3. The Jackson Laboratory Handbook on Genetically Standardized Mice. 6th ed. 2009. [ONLINE]. Available at:
  4. Lush I. E. and Arnold C. J. 1975. High coumarin 7-hydroxylase activity does not protect mice against Warfarin. Heredity 35, 279-281.
  5. Thompson W. R. 1953. The inheritance of behaviour: behavioural differences in fifteen mouse strains. Can. J. Psychol. 7, 145-155.
  6. Bruell J. H. 1964. Inheritance of behavioural and physiological characters of mice and the problem of heterosis. Am. Zool. 4, 125-138.
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