A simple and inexpensive method to fabricate a cannula system for intracranial injections in rats and mice

J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. Nov-Dec 2011;64(3):246-50. doi: 10.1016/j.vascn.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Aug 11.


Introduction: Stereotaxic administration of neuroactive agents, either in ventricles, or targeted at specific intracranial sites, is a widely employed strategy for neurological studies in rodents. Surgical implantation of cannula on the skull is particularly useful in chronic treatments. We describe a simple, inexpensive and reliable method to fabricate a cannula system for delivery of drugs at the targeted sites in the brain of rat or mouse.

Methods: The system consists of a guide cannula made from a hypodermic needle (24 gauge), a stainless steel wire (30 gauge) that serves as a dummy cannula, and an internal cannula made of stainless steel needle (30 gauge) taken from a hypodermic syringe. The cannula can be implanted by routine stereotaxic procedure and used for acute or chronic drug administration to conscious, free moving animals.

Results: With a view to test the system for accuracy, the guide cannula was stereotaxically implanted, and neuropeptide Y was directly delivered into the lateral ventricle. These rats showed a significant increase in food intake. Another set of rats were cannulated for chronic protocol, wherein ethanol was delivered directly into the ventral tegmental area. In operant chamber, these rats showed increased ethanol self-administration. The proposed cannula takes around 5 min to fabricate and costs less than a dollar.

Conclusion: We feel that it may serve as an economical and reliable tool in neuropharmacological and neurobehavioral studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catheterization / instrumentation*
  • Catheterization / methods
  • Catheters*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / drug effects*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Injections, Intraventricular / instrumentation*
  • Injections, Intraventricular / methods
  • Mice
  • Needles*
  • Neuropeptide Y / administration & dosage
  • Rats
  • Self Administration / instrumentation
  • Self Administration / methods
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / drug effects*


  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Ethanol