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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2012 Jan 1;175(1):188-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2011.11.014. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Methods for long-term 17β-estradiol administration to mice.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine/Clinical Chemistry, Linkoping University, Linkoping SE-581 85, Sweden.


Rodent models constitute a cornerstone in the elucidation of the effects and biological mechanisms of 17β-estradiol. However, a thorough assessment of the methods for long-term administration of 17β-estradiol to mice is lacking. The fact that 17β-estradiol has been demonstrated to exert different effects depending on dose emphasizes the need for validated administration regimens. Therefore, 169 female C57BL/6 mice were ovariectomized and administered 17β-estradiol using one of the two commonly used subcutaneous methods; slow-release pellets (0.18 mg, 60-day release pellets; 0.72 mg, 90-day release pellets) and silastic capsules (with/without convalescence period, silastic laboratory tubing, inner/outer diameter: 1.575/3.175 mm, filled with a 14 mm column of 36 μg 17β-estradiol/mL sesame oil), or a novel peroral method (56 μg 17β-estradiol/day/kg body weight in the hazelnut cream Nutella). Forty animals were used as ovariectomized and intact controls. Serum samples were obtained weekly for five weeks and 17β-estradiol concentrations were measured using radioimmunoassay. The peroral method resulted in steady concentrations within--except on one occasion--the physiological range and the silastic capsules produced predominantly physiological concentrations, although exceeding the range by maximum a factor three during the first three weeks. The 0.18 mg pellet yielded initial concentrations an order of magnitude higher than the physiological range, which then decreased drastically, and the 0.72 mg pellet produced between 18 and 40 times higher concentrations than the physiological range during the entire experiment. The peroral method and silastic capsules described in this article constitute reliable modes of administration of 17β-estradiol, superior to the widely used commercial pellets.

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