Oxygen Saturation (SPO2) Monitoring During Pulmonary Studies

Oxygen saturation is the fraction of oxygen-saturated hemoglobin relative to total hemoglobin (unsaturated + saturated) in the blood. A very precise and specific balance of oxygen in the blood is necessary to keep the body functioning properly. Monitoring these changes provides complimentary outcomes and a means to quantify subject stress during an experiment.

What is MouseOx?

MouseOx is a pulse oximeter that measures oxygenation levels in the blood. This non-invasive monitor can measure anaesthetized or conscious subjects to provide arterial saturation and heart rate outcomes.

Oxygen saturation pulmonary experiment

How does it work?

MouseOx uses LEDs and light sensors to transmit and receive infrared / red light intensities and frequencies. The light absorbed by the oxygenated vs deoxygenated hemoglobin is relayed to the software, allowing for oxygen saturation outcomes to be calculated.  To ensure high data quality, sensors are placed on areas with less fur and good blood flow visibility (i.e. thigh for mouse, paw for rats).

What diseases/applications are best suited for this technique?

Any pulmonary experiment measuring lung function can benefit from monitoring oxygen saturation as well. The flexiVent goes beyond traditional resistance and compliance measurements and captures crucial details about the mechanical properties of conducting airways, terminal airways and parenchyma. MouseOX seamlessly integrates with the flexiVent to offer monitoring during data collection, with no additional software or time required.

Furthermore, animal care and ethics committees may require subject monitoring when anaesthesia is involved. MouseOX offers a simple and non-invasive method to track subject stress.


How does MouseOx integrate with the flexiVent?

The flexiVent connects with accessories through auxiliary ports, the MouseOX simply connects via an adapter cable and the data will be automatically displayed in the real-time window in flexiWare software. This constantly updating window shows the real-time pressure and volume traces of ventilation along with the oxygen saturation on a breath-by-breath basis. Trends may be followed and recorded from this display, for instance if there is a long inspiratory breath, there will be a corresponding increase in blood oxygenation.

The MouseOx system is easily added to existing flexiVent configurations, it simply requires the hardware components and an updated flexiWare template.


Although the broadband forced oscillation manoeuvre may appear noisy during execution, it is in fact a precisely constructed signal containing specific frequencies relevant to the subject being studied.

  1. Hantos Z, Daroczy B, Suki B, Nagy S, Fredberg JJ. Input impedances and peripheral inhomogeneity in dog lungs. J Appl Physiol. 1992, 72: 168-178.
  2. North ML, Amatullah H, Khanna N, et al. Augmentation of arginase 1 expression by exposure to air pollution exacerbates the airways hyperresponsiveness in murine models of asthma. Respir Res. 2011, 12: 19. doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-19. Images are published with permission.

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