Pilocarpine-treated mice are an increasingly used model of temporal lobe epilepsy. However, outcomes of treatment can be disappointing, because many mice die or fail to develop status epilepticus. To improve animal welfare and outcomes of future experiments we analyzed results of previous pilocarpine treatments to identify factors that correlate with development of status epilepticus and survival. All treatments were performed by one investigator with mice of the FVB background strain. Results from 2413 mice were evaluated for effects of sex, age, body weight, and latency between administration of atropine methyl bromide and pilocarpine. All parameters correlated with effects on outcomes. Best results were obtained from male mice, 6-7 weeks old, and 21-25 g, with pilocarpine administered 18-30 min after atropine methyl bromide. In that group only 23% failed to develop status epilepticus, and 64% developed status epilepticus and survived. Those results are substantially better than that of the total sample in which 31% failed to develop status epilepticus and only 34% developed status epilepticus and survived.
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