Method for non-invasively recording electrocardiograms in conscious mice

BMC Physiol. 2001:1:6. doi: 10.1186/1472-6793-1-6. Epub 2001 Jun 25.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Consciousness
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart / growth & development
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Isoproterenol / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sex Factors
  • Software
  • Species Specificity
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Isoproterenol