Rodent studies have provided significant insights into the general aging process and age-related topics such as nutrition, behavior, immunology, cancer, and neurobiology. In such studies, concentrations of hormones, proteins, antibodies, and other metabolites and their associated kinetics are popular biomarkers because they vary with age and disease state. Typically biochemical assays are performed on blood samples collected following the temporary puncture of a large target vein. Standard blood sampling procedures can increase stress hormone release which may confound blood chemistry analysis, as well as cause pain and discomfort. This hormone release is especially problematic when serial samples are to be obtained over the lifespan. Minimally- perturbing blood sampling techniques are needed that enable studies of hormone fluctuations over the lifespan of individual animals. In this NIH SBIR program, Piezo Resonance Innovations Inc. (PRII) will demonstrate the feasibility of the Resonance Aided Insertion Lancet, an active device specifically designed to reduce the insertion forces required to perform tail venipuncture. In a pilot study conducted by PRII, a prototype was used to obtain blood samples from the tail vein of rats. The study suggested that blood samples were obtained with less stress according to behavioral indicators and corticosterone levels, compared to that of conventional manual lancet insertion. The goals of the Phase I proposal is to determine the parameters for the optimal prototype design, and conduct a more comprehensive set of bench and animal tests to ensure safety and efficacy. The proposed work will lead to the development of a new tool that minimizes animal stress during serial blood samples reducing the number of animals needed per investigational study - animal can survive entire study. This results in fewer animals needed per study, and improved humane treatment of the animals.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding the physiological and biological mechanisms of aging and the role hormones play in healthy and abnormal aging continues to be the focus of much research. Studies of hormone levels in rodent models have been critical to this effort, but the effect of the stress and pain associated with traditional blood sampling techniques is problematic. New minimally-perturbing blood sampling strategies, such as the device to be developed here, are highly desired to enable serial blood sampling over the lifespan to better explore links between changing hormone levels and the aging process.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SSMI-Q (10))
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Nadon, Nancy L
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Actuated Medical, Inc.
United States
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Clement, Ryan S; Unger, Erica L; Ocón-Grove, Olga M et al. (2016) Effects of Axial Vibration on Needle Insertion into the Tail Veins of Rats and Subsequent Serial Blood Corticosterone Levels. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 55:204-12