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J Vis Exp. 2017 Oct 26;(128). doi: 10.3791/55843.

Echocardiographic and Histological Examination of Cardiac Morphology in the Mouse.

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Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, INSERM, iBV.
Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, INSERM, iBV; Department of Pathology, CHU Nice.
Institute for Molecular Health Sciences, ETH Zurich.
Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, INSERM, iBV;


An increasing number of genetically modified mouse models has become available in recent years. Moreover, the number of pharmacological studies performed in mice is high. Phenotypic characterization of these mouse models also requires the examination of cardiac function and morphology. Echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are commonly used approaches to characterize cardiac function and morphology in mice. Echocardiographic and MRI equipment specialized for use in small rodents is expensive and requires a dedicated space. This protocol describes cardiac measurements in mice using a clinical echocardiographic system with a 15 MHz human vascular probe. Measurements are performed on anesthetized adult mice. At least three image sequences are recorded and analyzed for each animal in M-mode in the parasternal short-axis view. Afterwards, cardiac histological examination is performed, and cardiomyocyte diameters are determined on hematoxylin-eosin- or wheat germ agglutinin (WGA)-stained paraffin sections. Vessel density is determined morphometrically after Pecam-1 immunostaining. The protocol has been applied successfully to pharmacological studies and different genetic animal models under baseline conditions, as well as after experimental myocardial infarction by the permanent ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD). In our experience, echocardiographic investigation is limited to anesthetized animals and is feasible in adult mice weighing at least 25 g.

[Available on 2019-10-26]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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