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Blood sampling from the gingival plexus in guinea pigs and hamsters

Castro SO1, Rodrigues MV1, Mattaraia VGM1, Santoro ML2

1 Biotério Central, 2 Laboratório de Fisiopatologia, Instituto Butantan, Brasil

Introduction: The search and use of novel alternative procedures and refinement of techniques are required by international and Brazil laws for the use of laboratory animals in research. Due to the lack of a long tail, access to blood vessels in hamsters (HM) and guinea pigs (GP) is more limited than in other rodents. However, hamster and guinea pig are extensively used as models for neglected diseases and vaccine testing.  Objectives: Thus, we evaluated the feasibility of the gingival plexus as an alternative anatomical site for repetitive blood sampling from guinea pig and hamster.  Methods: Both species were bred and maintained under controlled sanitary standards, with free access to water and food. We studied twelve 4-week-old individuals (6 males and 6 females) from each species (CEUAIB Nº1122/13). At weekly intervals, the experimental group (3 males and 3 females for each species) was subjected to i.p. anesthesia and blood (200µL) was collected by puncturing the gingival plexus, located immediately caudal to mandibular incisors. Control animals were anesthetized, but not bled. Results and Discussion: No alteration in behavior or in weight gain was observed, and hematological values did not change over 6 weeks. Gingival puncture provided easy collection of at least 500 µL of blood and did not evoke any conspicuous local injury. Furthermore, at the end of 6 weeks, just a minor damage to the blood sampling area could be observed histologically. Our data demonstrate that the gingival plexus is a safe alternative for routine blood sampling in hamster and guinea pig.

Supported by FAPESP, Butantan Foundation
CEUAIB 1122/13

8 - ANIMAL BIOLOGY 17th Annual Scientific Meeting of Instituto Butantan.