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Reproducibility of histopathological findings in experimental pathology of the mouse: a sorry tail

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Ward, JM 
Schofield, PN 
Sundberg, JP 


Reproducibility of in vivo research using the mouse as a model organism depends on many factors, including experimental design, strain or stock, experimental protocols, and methods of data evaluation. Gross and histopathology are often the endpoints of such research and there is increasing concern about the accuracy and reproducibility of diagnoses in the literature. To reproduce histopathological results, the pathology protocol, including necropsy methods and slide preparation, should be followed by interpretation of the slides by a pathologist familiar with reading mouse slides and familiar with the consensus medical nomenclature used in mouse pathology. Likewise, it is important that pathologists are consulted as reviewers of manuscripts where histopathology is a key part of the investigation. The absence of pathology expertise in planning, executing and reviewing in vivo research using mice leads to questionable pathology-based findings and conclusions from studies, even in high-impact journals. We discuss the various aspects of this problem, give some examples from the literature and suggest solutions.



Animals, Clinical Competence, Histological Techniques, Mice, Neoplasms, Pathology, Veterinary, Reproducibility of Results, Terminology as Topic

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Lab Animal

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Nature Publishing Group
This work was supported in part by US National Institutes of Health grants R01 AR049288, CA089713 and R21 AR063781 (to J.P.S.) and by The Warden and Fellows of Robinson College, Cambridge (to P.N.S.).