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Open Access Core Body Temperature as Adjunct to Endpoint Determination in Murine Median Lethal Dose Testing of Rattlesnake Venom

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Median lethal dose (LD50) testing in mice is the 'gold standard' for evaluating the lethality of snake venoms and the effectiveness of interventions. As part of a study to determine the murine LD50 of the venom of 3 species of rattlesnake, temperature data were collected in an attempt to more precisely define humane endpoints. We used an 'up-and-down' methodology of estimating the LD50 that involved serial intraperitoneal injection of predetermined concentrations of venom. By using a rectal thermistor probe, body temperature was taken once before administration and at various times after venom exposure. All but one mouse showed a marked, immediate, dose-dependent drop in temperature of approximately 2 to 6°C at 15 to 45 min after administration. The lowest temperature sustained by any surviving mouse was 33.2°C. Surviving mice generally returned to near-baseline temperatures within 2 h after venom administration, whereas mice that did not survive continued to show a gradual decline in temperature until death or euthanasia. Logistic regression modeling controlling for the effects of baseline core body temperature and venom type showed that core body temperature was a significant predictor of survival. Linear regression of the interaction of time and survival was used to estimate temperatures predictive of death at the earliest time point and demonstrated that venom type had a significant influence on temperature values. Overall, our data suggest that core body temperature is a useful adjunct to monitoring for endpoints in LD50 studies and may be a valuable predictor of survival in venom studies.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA; Comparative Medicine Department, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA. [email protected] 2: Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2014

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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