Blood Sampling from the Tail Vein, in Comparison with Two Other Techniques, Causes Less Stress to Mice


  • J Madetoja Toxis Ltd Oy
  • M Madetoja Toxis Ltd Oy
  • J Mäkinen Toxis Ltd Oy
  • E Riuttala Toxis Ltd Oy
  • J Jokinen Toxis Ltd Oy



It is important to use the optimal method for repeated blood sampling to ensure minimal stress to mice,  and also to provide better pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data. The aim of the present study was  to compare the impact of blood sampling methods on corticosterone and adrenocorticotropic hormone  (ACTH) levels in mice. 

Hsdwin:NMRI mice were divided into four sampling groups: control group (I), vena facialis (II), tail vein  (III) and saphenous vein (IV). The first blood samples, obtained from vena facialis, tail or saphenous vein  of conscious mice, were taken at time point 0. The second blood sample was taken by decapitation from  groups II-IV with isoflurane anaesthesia at time point 20 min. The control group animals were anesthetized  and decapitated at 20 min time point. Corticosterone levels in plasma were analyzed at time point 0 and 20  min, and ACTH at time point 20 min. 

Saphenous bled mice, in comparison with vena facialis and tail vein sampled mice, indicated statistically  significant greater (P < 0.05) level of corticosterone at sampling point (0 min). Rising levels of corticosterone  in all groups differed statistically (P < 0.05) from the control group level, indicating that all tested bleeding  methods were stressful to the experimental animals. However, the tail vein bleeding method stressed  statistically significantly (P < 0.05) less in comparison with vena facialis and saphenous vein bleeding.  At time point 20 min, only saphenous vein bled mice showed statistically significant greater (P < 0.05)  blood levels of ACTH compared to tail vein bled mice. 

Conditions in sampling and rising levels of corticosterone and/or ACTH level did not show direct correlation.  In conclusion the results suggest that the tail bleeding method accomplished least stress to mice and next  less vena facialis bleeding. Blood collection technique from the saphenous vein was the most stressful to  the experimental animals. 


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How to Cite

Madetoja, J., Madetoja, M., Mäkinen, J., Riuttala, E., & Jokinen, J. (2009). Blood Sampling from the Tail Vein, in Comparison with Two Other Techniques, Causes Less Stress to Mice. Scandinavian Journal of Laboratory Animal Science, 36(2), 215–221.