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Assembly and operation of an easy-to-make portable device for facilitating mouse lateral tail-vein injection


Drug delivery by lateral tail-vein injection in mice is widely used in preclinical research, but the technique is laborious to perform because the tail vein is hardly visible and too small to be cannulated. Misinjections of test components can lead to defective or even false experiment results. We present a simple but useful injection-assistant device to visualize the tail vein of mice. The device consists of a light-emitting diode (LED) circuit and a finger component. The finger component consists of an open-looped ring to slide on the finger, a slot to accommodate the mouse’s tail and a lamp cage in which to set the LED lamp. Once the mouse’s tail has been illuminated, the tail vein can be clearly seen as a dark line along the bright background of the tail, which facilitates venipuncture and improves the success rate of tail-vein injection. If the protocol provided has been followed correctly, a robust tail-vein injection-assistant device can be set up in 3 h with low-cost components.

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Fig. 1: The tail vein–illuminating ring.
Fig. 2: The procedure for assembling the components and welding the LED circuit.
Fig. 3: The efficiency of the tail vein–illuminating ring.

Data availability

The stereolithography files for fabricating the custom parts are provided in Supplementary Data. The videos about assembling and operating this device are provided as Supplementary Videos accompanying this protocol. Source data are provided with this paper.


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The authors thank Wei Zhang for the initial idea of making a portable device for assisting tail-vein injection. We also thank members of the BioMed Lab for actively trying out and offering feedback and for their encouragement and support in making the tail vein–illuminating ring a handy tool. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 81772318).

Author information




J.Z. and Q.W. designed the study. Q.W., Z.X., S.L., N.B. and J.Z. developed the 3D model of the tail vein–illuminating ring. Q.W., S.L. and N.B. developed the 3D model of the mouse-restraining device. Q.W. and Z.X. developed the alkaline battery–charged LED circuit. S.L., B.C., X.Y. and R.T. tested the device on mice and recorded the efficiency of the device. Q.W., Z.X. and J.Z. wrote the manuscript. All of the authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Nirong Bao or Jianning Zhao.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review information Lab Animal thanks the anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–5.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Data

Stereolithography files for fabrication of custom-built parts required for tail vein–illuminating ring and mouse-restraining device assembly.

Supplementary Video 1

Visualization of the main steps for the assembly of the tail vein–illuminating ring.

Supplementary Video 2

Visualization of the main steps for tail-vein injection by using the tail vein–illuminating ring.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 3

Raw data of the curve in Fig. 3b and statistical data for Fig. 3c,d.

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Wu, Q., Xing, Z., Luo, S. et al. Assembly and operation of an easy-to-make portable device for facilitating mouse lateral tail-vein injection. Lab Anim 51, 11–21 (2022).

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