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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



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.


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.


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.