Use of echocardiography for the phenotypic assessment of genetically altered mice

Physiol Genomics. 2003 May 13;13(3):227-39. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00005.2003. Epub 2003 May 13.


Transgenic mice displaying abnormalities in cardiac development and function represent a powerful new tool for understanding molecular mechanisms underlying normal cardiovascular function and the pathophysiological bases of human cardiovascular disease. Complete cardiac evaluation of phenotypic changes in mice requires the ability to noninvasively assess cardiovascular structure and function in a serial manner. However, the small mouse heart beating at rates in excess of 500 beats/min presents unique methodological challenges. Two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography have been recently used as effective, noninvasive tools for murine imaging, because quality images of cardiac structures and valvular flows can be obtained with newer high-frequency transthoracic transducers. We will discuss the use of echocardiography for the assessment of 1) left ventricular (LV) chamber dimensions and wall thicknesses, 2) LV mass, 3) improved endocardial border delineation using contrast echocardiography, 4) LV contractility using ejection phase indices and load-independent indices, 5) vascular properties, and 6) LV diastolic performance. Evaluation of cardiovascular performance in closed chest mice is feasible in a variety of murine models using Doppler echocardiographic imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Phenotype
  • Ventricular Function, Left / genetics