A low-cost device for cryoanesthesia of neonatal rodents

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Studying the development of neural circuits in rodent models requires surgical access to the neonatal brain. Since commercially available stereotaxic and anesthetic equipment is designed for use in adults, reliable targeting of brain structures in such young animals can be challenging. Hypothermic cooling (cryoanesthesia) has been used as a preferred anesthesia approach in neonates. This commonly involves submerging neonates in ice, an approach that is poorly controllable. We have developed an affordable, simple to construct device - CryoPup - that allows for fast and robust cryoanesthesia of rodent pups. CryoPup consists of a microcontroller controlling a Peltier element and a heat exchanger. It is capable of both cooling and heating, thereby also functioning as a heating pad during recovery. Importantly, it has been designed for size compatibility with common stereotaxic frames. We validate CryoPup in neonatal mice, demonstrating that it allows for rapid, reliable and safe cryoanesthesia and subsequent recovery. This open-source device will facilitate future studies into the development of neural circuits in the postnatal brain.

Journal details

Journal HardwareX
Volume 14
Pages e00417
Available online
Publication date