Physiological and Pathological Impact of Blood Sampling by Retro-Bulbar Sinus Puncture and Facial Vein Phlebotomy in Laboratory Mice

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Retro-bulbar sinus puncture and facial vein phlebotomy are two widely used methods for blood sampling in laboratory mice. However, the animal welfare implications associated with these techniques are currently debated, and the possible physiological and pathological implications of blood sampling using these methods have been sparsely investigated. Therefore, this study was conducted to assess and compare the impacts of blood sampling by retro-bulbar sinus puncture and facial vein phlebotomy. Blood was obtained from either the retro-bulbar sinus or the facial vein from male C57BL/6J mice at two time points, and the samples were analyzed for plasma corticosterone. Body weights were measured at the day of blood sampling and the day after blood sampling, and the food consumption was recorded automatically during the 24 hours post-procedure. At the end of study, cheeks and orbital regions were collected for histopathological analysis to assess the degree of tissue trauma. Mice subjected to facial vein phlebotomy had significantly elevated plasma corticosterone levels at both time points in contrast to mice subjected to retro-bulbar sinus puncture, which did not. Both groups of sampled mice lost weight following blood sampling, but the body weight loss was higher in mice subjected to facial vein phlebotomy. The food consumption was not significantly different between the two groups. At gross necropsy, subcutaneous hematomas were found in both groups and the histopathological analyses revealed extensive tissue trauma after both facial vein phlebotomy and retro-bulbar sinus puncture. This study demonstrates that both blood sampling methods have a considerable impact on the animals' physiological condition, which should be considered whenever blood samples are obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere113225
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2014

ID: 137292321