Mei, J., Riedel, N., Grittner, U. et al. 2018. Body temperature measurement in mice during acute illness: implantable temperature transponder versus surface infrared thermometry. Scientific Reports 8, 3526.
Body temperature is a valuable parameter in determining the wellbeing of laboratory animals. However, using body temperature to refine humane endpoints during acute illness generally lacks comprehensiveness and exposes to inter-observer bias. Here we compared two methods to assess body temperature in mice, namely implanted radio frequency identification (RFID) temperature transponders (method 1) to non-contact infrared thermometry (method 2) in 435 mice for up to 7 days during normothermia and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxin-induced hypothermia. There was excellent agreement between core and surface temperature as determined by method 1 and 2, respectively, whereas the intra- and inter-subject variation was higher for method 2. Nevertheless, using machine learning algorithms to determine temperature-based endpoints both methods had excellent accuracy in predicting death as an outcome event. Therefore, less expensive and cumbersome non-contact infrared thermometry can serve as a reliable alternative for implantable transponder-based systems for hypothermic responses, although requiring standardization between experimenters.