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 beta-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.