Reliability of transcutaneous measurement of renal function in various strains of conscious mice

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 19;8(8):e71519. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071519. eCollection 2013.


Measuring renal function in laboratory animals using blood and/or urine sampling is not only labor-intensive but puts also a strain on the animal. Several approaches for fluorescence based transcutaneous measurement of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in laboratory animals have been developed. They allow the measurement of GFR based on the elimination kinetics of fluorescent exogenous markers. None of the studies dealt with the reproducibility of the measurements in the same animals. Therefore, the reproducibility of a transcutaneous GFR assessment method was investigated using the fluorescent renal marker FITC-Sinistrin in conscious mice in the present study. We performed two transcutaneous GFR measurements within three days in five groups of mice (Balb/c, C57BL/6, SV129, NMRI at 3-4 months of age, and a group of 24 months old C57BL/6). Data were evaluated regarding day-to-day reproducibility as well as intra- and inter-strain variability of GFR and the impact of age on these parameters. No significant differences between the two subsequent GFR measurements were detected. Fastest elimination for FITC-Sinistrin was detected in Balb/c with significant differences to C57BL/6 and SV129 mice. GFR decreased significantly with age in C57BL/6 mice. Evaluation of GFR in cohorts of young and old C57BL/6 mice from the same supplier showed high consistency of GFR values between groups. Our study shows that the investigated technique is a highly reproducible and reliable method for repeated GFR measurements in conscious mice. This gentle method is easily used even in old mice and can be used to monitor the age-related decline in GFR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Fluoresceins / metabolism
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology
  • Half-Life
  • Kidney Function Tests*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Fluoresceins
  • Oligosaccharides
  • fluorescein-isothiocyanate sinistrin

Grant support

YS was supported by a grant (nephrocore) from Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA. SG was supported by ITN Marie-Curie EU-Framework Programme 7: NephroTools. D S-K was supported by the EU-Framework Programme 7: PLACE-it. Anette Melk and Roland Schmitt were supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 738, project C8). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.