Nuber, M., Gonzalez-Uarquin, F., Neufurth, M. et al. 2022. Development of a 3D simulator for training the mouse in utero electroporation. PLOS ONE 17(12), e0279004.

In utero electroporation (IUE) requires high-level training in microinjection through the mouse uterine wall into the lateral ventricle of the mouse brain. Training for IUE is currently being performed in live mice as no artificial models allow simulations yet. This study aimed to develop an anatomically realistic 3D printed simulator to train IUE in mice. To this end, we created embryo models containing lateral ventricles. We coupled them to uterus models in six steps: (1) computed tomography imaging, (2) 3D model segmentation, (3) 3D model refinement, (4) mold creation to cast the actual model, (5) 3D mold printing, and (6) mold casting the molds with a mix of soft silicones to ensure the hardness and consistency of the uterus and embryo. The results showed that the simulator assembly successfully recreated the IUE. The compression test did not differ in the mechanical properties of the real embryo or in the required load for uterus displacement. Furthermore, more than 90% of the users approved the simulator as an introduction to IUE and considered that the simulator could help reduce the number of animals for training. Despite current limitations, our 3D simulator enabled a realistic experience for initial approximations to the IUE and is a real alternative for implementing the 3Rs. We are currently working on refining the model.

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