An improved technique for tail-cuff blood pressure measurements with dark-tailed mice.

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Blood-Pressure, Blood-Pressure-Determination, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Mice-Inbred-Strains, Pigmentation

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see Reprint Collection

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Contemp Top Lab Anim Sci 2005 Sep; 44(5):43-6.


Study of the genetics of hypertension has been facilitated greatly by the use of mice with modified genes that affect blood pressure. A current successful method for measuring blood pressure in mice relies on detection of light passing through the tail to determine the pressure in a tail-cuff necessary to stop pulsed flow. Success in obtaining reliable blood pressure measurements in light-tailed strains of mice (e.g., C57BL/6J) has been excellent. However, in our and others' experience, mice having highly pigmented tails (e.g., 129S6/SvEvTac) have yielded less consistent measurements. We report here that simple modifications to the channel containing the pulse detection sensor can greatly improve the pulse detection of dark-tailed mice. The first modification--lining the sensor channel with four layers of clear plastic wrap--increased the frequency of successful blood pressure measurements of 129S6/SvEvTac mice twofold and reduced variability by one-third. The second modification--lining the sides of the channel with reflective foil--also improved the success rate with dark-tailed mice. Mean blood pressures were unaffected by these modifications, which enhance detection of the pulse wave and likely will be helpful in diverse applications in which blood pressure is measured in rodent strains with pigmented tails.

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