The Skin of the Rhino Mouse

  • Lorraine H. Kligman
  • Albert M. Kligman
Part of the Monographs on Pathology of Laboratory Animals book series (LABORATORY)


Surely one of the oddities of nature, the rhino mouse as it matures becomes “curiouser and curiouser.” This recessive, single gene mutant of the house mouse was first described by Howard in 1940. During the first 2 weeks of life, the homozygous animal resembles its heterozygous and normal littermates. Born naked, it develops a full, darkly pigmented first pelage. Then, over the next 10–12 days, the hair is lost in a cephalad to caudal wave, leaving the animal once again quite naked. With the exception of a few hairs in an occasional animal, a second pelage never appears because of an aberration in the first catagen (Mann 1971). The dermal papilla fails to follow the contracting follicle and becomes isolated in the subcutaneous tissue. The two never rejoin, rendering the follicle permanently hairless. Shortly thereafter, the skin becomes progressively loose and redundant, falling increasingly into rhinoceroslike folds, flaps, and ridges (Fig. 234). This extraordinary expansion of the surface occurs because the empty follicles widen into ampulliform cavities or “utriculi” which become distended with retained horny cells. The horn-filled utriculi are not grossly apparent until the animal ages (Fig. 235), which it does prematurely in 6 months to 1 year. The mature rhino mouse usually weighs more than its haired littermates mainly because of the large masses of skin. Indeed, the muscles and subcutaneous tissue regress (Davies et al. 1971).


Retinoic Acid House Mouse Hairless Mouse Deer Mouse Dermal Papilla 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. David LT (1931) Hairless mammals. Comparative histologic studies: preliminary report. Arch Dermatol Syphilol 24: 196–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Davies RE, Austin WA, Logani MK (1971) The rhino mutant mouse as an experimental tool. Trans NY Acad Sci (series II ) 33: 680–693Google Scholar
  3. Fraser CF (1949) The effect of vitamin A on hereditary hyperkeratosis in the mouse. Can J Res 27 (D series): 179–185PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Howard A (1940) “Rhino”, an allele of hairless in the house mouse. J Hered 31: 467–470Google Scholar
  5. Kligman LH, Kligman AM (1979) The effect on rhino mouse skin of agents which influence keratinization and exfoliation. J Invest Dermatol 73: 354–358PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kligman LH, Akin FJ, Kligman AM (1982) Prevention of ultraviolet damage to the dermis of hairless mice by sunscreens. J Invest Dermatol 78: 181–189PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Logani MK, Austin WA, Nhari DB, Davies RE (1975) Neutral lipids from the skin of the rhino mutant mouse. Biochim Biophys Acta 380: 155–164PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Logani MK, Nhari DB, Davies RE (1977) Composition of novel triesters from the skin of the rhino mutant mouse. Lipids 12: 283–287PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mann SJ (1971) Hair loss and cyst formation in hairless and rhino mutant mice. Anat Rec 170: 485–500PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mauer I (1961) The effect of vitamin A in hyperkeratotic mouse mutants. J Exp Zool 146: 181–207PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mezick JA, Bhatia MC, Capetola RJ (1984) Topical and systemic effects of retinoids on horn-filled utriculus size in the rhino mouse: a model to quantify “antikeratinizing” effects of retinoids. J Invest Dermatol 83: 110–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rigdon RH, Packchanian AA (1957) Histologic study of the skin of hairless American deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus gambeli). Arch Pathol 64: 210–221Google Scholar
  13. Robinson R (1965) Pelage variations (chap 2). In: Robinson R (ed) Genetics of the Norway rat. Pergamon, New York, pp 39–52Google Scholar
  14. Van Scott EJ (1972) Experimental animal integumental models for screening potential dermatologic drugs. In: Montagne WA, Van Scott EJ, Stoughton R (eds) Pharmacology of skin. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, pp 523–533Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorraine H. Kligman
  • Albert M. Kligman

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations