A Peculiar Affinity: Measuring the Blood Glucose of Mice

Comrade! (Photo taken from Jackson Labs)

I have now measured the blood glucose of a mouse. Three mice, in fact.

These mice were non-diabetic at the time, but they were a strain of mouse– called Non-Obese Diabetic (NOD)– that spontaneously develops diabetes. NOD mice were developed in the 70s and 80s by inbreeding another strain of mice to the point that they had certain genetic mutations in the HLA locus of genes that confers susceptibility to type 1 diabetes, along with a handful of mutations in other genes that have been associated with diabetes.

Now, a well-established mouse strain and model of type 1 diabetes, the mice can be purchased for use in labs and research environments. I had three females, which develop diabetes with 90 – 100% frequency by 30 weeks of age. Typically, this starts with insulitis (invasion of the pancreatic tissue by immune cells) and moderate hyperglycemia as soon as 12 weeks.

My three NOD mice were only 5 weeks old, though, so they were not yet exhibiting any signs of diabetes. Just to confirm this, I measured their blood sugars, using an Accu-Chek meter and blood drawn from the tail vein (kind of like in this video, but without the acrylic holder– and, please, don’t watch that if you’re at all squeamish). They didn’t seem to mind; they were more excited by my picking them up than by the incision I made to get a drop of blood.

Their blood glucose measurements? 104, 96, and 110.

Man, I thought, my mice are totally one-upping me.

When I measured my own blood sugar a few minutes later, I felt a sense of camaraderie with the little fellows; yes, I am a diabetic, too!

And would you believe it– my blood sugar after all this? A matching 110.

I’m pretty sure it has something to do with paired particles and the top gluon.

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11 years ago

Wow!  Karmel I am glad you warned me about the video..but I really found it fascinating rather than gross.  You are doing great stuff!

Jessica Apple
11 years ago

You and the mouse with matching blood sugars! Cute!

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