Post Mortem Study on the Effects of Routine Handling and Manipulation of Laboratory Mice

Charles Antoine Assenmacher, Matthew Lanza, James C. Tarrant, Kristin L. Gardiner, Eric Blankemeyer, Enrico Radaelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Routine handling and manipulation of laboratory mice are integral components of most preclinical studies. Any type of handling and manipulation may cause stress and result in physical harm to mice, potentially leading to unintended consequences of experimental outcomes. Nevertheless, the pathological effects of these interventions are poorly documented and assumed to have a negligible effect on experimental variables. In that context, we provide a comprehensive post mortem overview of the main pathological changes associated with routine interventions (i.e., restraint, blood drawing, and intraperitoneal injections) of laboratory mice with an emphasis on presumed traumatic osteoarticular lesions. A total of 1000 mice from various studies were included, with 864 animals being heavily manipulated and 136 being handled for routine husbandry procedures only. The most common lesions observed were associated with blood collection or intraperitoneal injections, as well as a series of traumatic osteoarticular lesions likely resulting from restraint. Osteoarticular lesions were found in 62 animals (61 heavily manipulated; 1 unmanipulated) with rib fractures and avulsion of the dens of the axis being over-represented. Histopathology and micro-CT confirmed the traumatic nature of the rib fractures. While these lesions might be unavoidable if mice are manipulated according to the current standards, intentional training of research personnel on appropriate mouse handling and restraint techniques could help reduce their frequency and the impact on animal wellbeing as well as study reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3234
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


Dive into the research topics of 'Post Mortem Study on the Effects of Routine Handling and Manipulation of Laboratory Mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this