Assessing reproductive status/stages in mice

Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2009 Jul:Appendix 4:Appendix 4I. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.nsa04is48.


The short reproductive cycle length observed in rodents, called the estrous cycle, makes them an ideal animal model for investigation of changes that occur during the reproductive cycle. Most of the data in the literature about the estrous cycle is obtained from rats because they are easily manipulated and they exhibit a clear and well-defined estrous cycle. However, the increased number of experiments using knockout mice requires identification of their estrous cycle as well, since (in)fertility issues may arise. In mice, like rats, the identification of the stage of estrous cycle is based on the proportion of cell types observed in the vaginal secretion. The aim of this unit is to provide guidelines for quickly and accurately determining estrous cycle phases in mice.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrous Cycle / physiology*
  • Female
  • Mice / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Vagina / cytology
  • Vagina / metabolism
  • Vagina / physiology*
  • Vaginal Smears / methods*