Woodard, C. L., Nasrallah, W. B., Samiei, B. V. et al. 2020. PiDose: An open-source system for accurate and automated oral drug administration to group-housed mice. Scientific Reports 10, 11584.
Drug treatment studies in laboratory mice typically employ manual administration methods such as injection or gavage, which can be time-consuming to perform over long periods and cause substantial stress in animals. These stress responses may mask or enhance treatment effects, increasing the risk of false positive or negative results and decreasing reliability. To address the lack of an automated method for drug treatment in group-housed mice, we have developed PiDose, a home-cage attached device that weighs individual animals and administers a daily dosage of drug solution based on each animal’s bodyweight through their drinking water. Group housed mice are identified through the use of RFID tagging and receive both regular water and drug solution drops by licking at a spout within the PiDose module. This system allows animals to be treated over long periods (weeks to months) in a fully automated fashion, with high accuracy and minimal experimenter interaction. PiDose is low-cost and fully open-source and should prove useful for researchers in both translational and basic research.