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Am J Physiol. 1998 Mar;274(3):H747-51. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.1998.274.3.H747.

Measurement of heart rate and Q-T interval in the conscious mouse.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Transgenic mouse models provided a powerful tool to evaluate the physiological significance of altered quantities or characteristics of specific gene products, such as cardiac ion channels. We have developed a system to record and analyze changes in the electrocardiogram in the mouse using an implantable telemetry system. The R-R and Q-T intervals were measured on individual beats and on signal-averaged complexes derived from 1, 2, or 4 s of contiguous data each hour during a 24-h period in three male and three female FVB mice. Duration of averaging had minimal effect on the measured Q-T. The Q-T interval was shown to be related to the square root of the R-R interval, and an appropriate formula for a rate-corrected Q-T interval (Q-Tc) was derived. Ketamine anesthesia was shown to markedly increase duration and variability in R-R, Q-T, and Q-Tc intervals. In conscious animals, variability in Q-T was low across animals and over time, suggesting that this should be a sensitive model for detection of changes in the Q-T interval in transgenic mice with ion channel defects.

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