Heart Rate and Electrocardiography Monitoring in Mice

David Ho1, Xin Zhao1, Shumin Gao1, Chull Hong1, Dorothy E. Vatner1, Stephen F. Vatner1

1 The University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Mouse Biology
Unit Number:   
DOI:  10.1002/9780470942390.mo100159
Online Posting Date:  March, 2011
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The majority of current cardiovascular research involves studies in genetically engineered mouse models. The measurement of heart rate is central to understanding cardiovascular control under normal conditions, with altered autonomic tone and with superimposed stress, or in disease states, both in wild‐type mice and in those with altered genes. Electrocardiography (ECG) is the “gold standard,” using either hard‐wired or telemetry transmission. In addition, heart rate is measured or monitored from the frequency of the arterial pressure pulse or cardiac contraction, or by pulse oximetry. For each of these techniques, discussions of materials and methods, as well as advantages and limitations, are covered. However, direct ECG monitoring alone will determine not only the precise heart rates but also whether the cardiac rhythm is normal or not. Curr. Protoc. Mouse Biol. 1:123‐139. © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: heart‐rate monitoring; mice; electrocardiography ECG

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Noninvasive ECG System
  • Basic Protocol 2: Tethered ECG System
  • Basic Protocol 3: Implanted ECG Telemetry System
  • Basic Protocol 4: Pulse Oximetry
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Basic Protocol 1: Noninvasive ECG System

  • Mice
  • AnonyMouse ECG screening system (Mouse Specifics, Inc., http://www.mousespecifics.com/)
  • Cotton‐tipped sticks
  • Gel‐coated ECG electrodes
  • Amplifier (HP78901A, Hewlett‐Packard)
  • Shielded 3 electrode lead set (M1605A Snap, Hewlett‐Packard)
  • Recording computer
  • eMouse Internet‐based wave‐analysis portal (http://www.mousespecifics.com/)

Basic Protocol 2: Tethered ECG System

  • Mice
  • Anesthesia (see Table 10.1.5900 and annotation to step 2, below)
  • Insulated wire leads (AWG size 36)
  • Surgical instruments
  • Suture: 6‐0 nylon for ECG lead fixation and skin closure
  • Tether system including a harness (or jacket) (Instech, http://www.instechlabs.com/)
  • Swivel system (Instech)
  • ECG system including:
    • Amplifier box (Gould Instrument Systems, item no. 11‐4123‐09)
    • Amplifier (Gould Instrument Systems, item no. Amp6600)
    • Tektronix TDS 1002 Oscilloscope (Tektronix, part no. 93K5765)
  • Small protective plastic tube (made by cutting a 4‐mm section from the mid‐portion of a plastic transfer pipet; VWR, cat. no. 3‐711‐7)
  • Restraint box with ceiling hole (Braintree Scientific, cat. no. 500M‐C)

Basic Protocol 3: Implanted ECG Telemetry System

  • Mice
  • Anesthesia (see Table 10.1.5900 and annotation to step 2, below)
  • Surgical instruments
  • Suture: 5‐0 nylon for transmitter fixation to skin; 7‐0 silk for telemetry wire fixation
  • Telemetry transmitter device (ETA F‐10 or EA‐F20; Data Sciences International)
  • Magnet (any commercially available magnet can be used)
  • Anesthesia (see Table 10.1.5900 and step 1)

Basic Protocol 4: Pulse Oximetry

  • Mice
  • MouseOx pulse oximeter with CollarClips, ThroatClips, and Thigh Sensors (Starr Life Sciences Corp., http://www.starrlifesciences.com/)
  • Hair clippers
  • MouseOx software (Starr Life Sciences Corp., http://www.starrlifesciences.com)
  • STARR‐Link analog output module (Starr Life Sciences Corp.)
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Literature Cited

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