Small animal models represent an important part of basic cardiovascular research. In Circulation Research, researchers from the Heidelberg/Mannheim DZHK partner site now report a new, minimally invasive method for the induction of myocardial infarction in mice. According to the scientists around Prof. Florian Leuschner, the primary motivation for the work was the variability in infarct size often observed in previously used models and the establishment of an intervention that is gentler on the animal.
In the newly developed procedure, the coronary vessels were first visualized using high-resolution small animal echocardiography. Then, under echocardiographic control, a targeted vessel occlusion was performed using electrocautery using a needle controlled by a micromanipulator and inserted into the closed thorax.
This technique enabled the DZHK scientists to induce infarcts of a definable size and to completely avoid steps such as intubation and thoracotomy, which are used in the conventional method of surgical infarction induction.
It drastically reduced both the duration of the procedure and post-procedural mortality.<br /><br />The first author of the study is the Young DZHK member Florian Sicklinger. He and his colleagues assume that the newly developed method will allow a more precise and less stressful investigation of the pathophysiological mechanisms following infarction and, above all, preclinical therapeutic approaches for the treatment of myocardial infarction in small animals.