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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

Method for non-invasively recording electrocardiograms in conscious mice

Victor Chu1, Jose M Otero2, Orlando Lopez2, James P Morgan1, Ivo Amende1 and Thomas G Hampton2*

Author Affiliations

1 Cardiovascular Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215 USA

2 Research and Development, Mouse Specifics, Inc., Boston, MA 02139, USA

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BMC Physiology 2001, 1:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6793-1-6

Published: 25 June 2001

Abstract

Background

The rapid increase in the development of mouse models is resulting in a growing demand for non-invasive physiological monitoring of large quantities of mice. Accordingly, we developed a new system for recording electrocardiograms (ECGs) in conscious mice without anesthesia or implants, and created Internet-accessible software for analyzing murine ECG signals. The system includes paw-sized conductive electrodes embedded in a platform configured to record ECGs when 3 single electrodes contact 3 paws.

Results

With this technique we demonstrated significantly reduced heart rate variability in neonates compared to adult mice. We also demonstrated that female mice exhibit significant ECG differences in comparison to age-matched males, both at baseline and in response to β-adrenergic stimulation.

Conclusions

The technology we developed enables non-invasive screening of large numbers of mice for ECG changes resulting from genetic, pharmacological, or pathophysiological alterations. Data we obtained non-invasively are not only consistent with what have been reported using invasive and expensive methods, but also demonstrate new findings regarding gender-dependent and age-dependent variations in ECGs in mice.