Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University (2019)
Bachelor of Science, University of California Los Angeles (2012)
Megan Albertelli, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Mouse handling and restraint affect behavior, physiology, and animal welfare, yet little information is available on how various mouse restraint methods affect cardiovascular parameters. We validated the use of a smartphone-based ECG sys- tem in mice by performing simultaneous smartphone and telemetry ECG recordings in conscious, restrained mice and in anesthetized mice. We observed that mice held in standard immobilizing restraint ("scruffing") experienced severe bradycardia. Mice of both sexes and 4 different strains (BALB/cJ, C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and FVB/nJ) were restrained by 3 handlers using 3 different restraint methods: light restraint; 3-finger restraint, which creates a dorsal transverse fold of skin; and the standard immobilizing restraint, which creates a dorsal longitudinal fold of skin that results in a crease on the ventral neck. Regardless of the handler, immobilizing restraint, but not 3-finger restraint, produced severe bradycardia with irregular rhythm in all 4 strains and both sexes, with an average decrease in heart rate of 31%, or 211 bpm, and a maximal decrease of 79%, or 542 bpm. When evaluated using telemetry, immobilizing restraint produced severe arrhythmias such as junctional and ventricular escape rhythms, and second- and third-degree atrioventricular block. Sinus pauses were observed for an average of 4 min, but up to 6.8 min after release from immobilizing restraint. Atropine administration to C57BL/6J mice attenuated immobilizing restraint-induced bradycardia, supporting the hypothesis that pressure on cervical baroreceptors during stretching of the neck skin results in a vagally-mediated reflex bradycardia. Because of these profound cardiovascular effects, we recommend using the light or 3-finger restraint and avoiding or minimizing the use of immobilization restraint while handling mice.
View details for DOI 10.30802/AALAS-JAALAS-20-000069
View details for PubMedID 33637137
Analogous behavioral assays are needed across animal models and human patients to improve translational research. Here, we examined the extent to which performance in the Morris water maze - the most frequently used behavioral assay of spatial learning and memory in rodents - translates to humans. We designed a virtual version of the assay for human subjects that includes the visible-target training, hidden-target learning, and probe trials that are typically administered in the mouse version. We compared transgenic mice that express human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) and patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease (MCI-AD) to evaluate the sensitivity of performance measures in detecting deficits. Patients performed normally during visible-target training, while hAPP mice showed procedural learning deficits. In hidden-target learning and probe trials, hAPP mice and MCI-AD patients showed similar deficits in learning and remembering the target location. In addition, we have provided recommendations for selecting performance measures and sample sizes to make these assays sensitive to learning and memory deficits in humans with MCI-AD and in mouse models. Together, our results demonstrate that with careful study design and analysis, the Morris maze is a sensitive assay for detecting AD-relevant impairments across species.
View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI78464
View details for Web of Science ID 000370677300035
View details for PubMedID 26784542
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4731157
A152T-variant human tau (hTau-A152T) increases risk for tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease. Comparing mice with regulatable expression of hTau-A152T or wild-type hTau (hTau-WT), we find age-dependent neuronal loss, cognitive impairments, and spontaneous nonconvulsive epileptiform activity primarily in hTau-A152T mice. However, overexpression of either hTau species enhances neuronal responses to electrical stimulation of synaptic inputs and to an epileptogenic chemical. hTau-A152T mice have higher hTau protein/mRNA ratios in brain, suggesting that A152T increases production or decreases clearance of hTau protein. Despite their functional abnormalities, aging hTau-A152T mice show no evidence for accumulation of insoluble tau aggregates, suggesting that their dysfunctions are caused by soluble tau. In human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice, co-expression of hTau-A152T enhances risk of early death and epileptic activity, suggesting copathogenic interactions between hTau-A152T and amyloid-? peptides or other hAPP metabolites. Thus, the A152T substitution may augment risk for neurodegenerative diseases by increasing hTau protein levels, promoting network hyperexcitability, and synergizing with the adverse effects of other pathogenic factors.
View details for DOI 10.15252/embr.201541438
View details for PubMedID 26931567
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4818780