Colonoscopy in mice

Surg Endosc. 2002 Jan;16(1):22-4. doi: 10.1007/s004640080168. Epub 2001 Oct 13.


Introduction: Current investigational models of murine colitis and colon cancer necessitate sacrifice of animals in order to obtain colonic tissue. The purpose of this study was to develop a safe method of murine colonoscopy that would allow serial evaluation and mucosal biopsies of the same animal.

Methods: Nine mice (two C3H, two C57/BL6, and five IL-10 deficient) were studied a total of four times each over 4 weeks. Three mice [APC (Min +/-)] were examined three times each. Mice were gavaged with 1 cc of a polyethylene glycol solution on the day prior to colonoscopy. Solid chow was withheld and the mice were maintained on Pedialyte. Mice were anesthetized with ketamine and xylazine. A flexible pediatric cystoscope (2.1-mm diameter) with a single biopsy channel was introduced per anum, and the colon was gently insufflated with air to a mean pressure of less than 5 mmHg. Saline irrigation was used when necessary. A single biopsy was obtained from the rectosigmoid colon during each examination.

Results: A total of 46 examinations were carried out. One mouse died after being anesthesized for the fourth examination, and two mice [one IL-10 knockout and one APC (Min+/-)] died one day after the 3rd examination. No other complications were noted. The average length of insertion was 3 cm. Transillumination allowed for localization of the endoscope tip. Biopsies, although quite small, were sufficient for pathologic evaluation and diagnosis.

Conclusions: Murine colonoscopy is a safe and feasible technique. It permits consecutive visual and histopathological examinations, and it allows the investigator to monitor the response of the murine colon to experimental interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biopsy / instrumentation
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Colitis / pathology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Mutant Strains