For many years our team performs a systematic histopathological characterisation of genetically modified mouse lines in order to improve the understanding of mammalian gene function and its role in the development of human diseases, contributing to ways of preventing and treating them.

Integrated in the standard screening phenotyping pipeline of the German Mouse Clinic, the pathological screen plays a vital role in correlating the in vivo phenotyping findings and recognising further phenotypes not detected in high-throughput mouse phenotyping pipelines (

Standard Screening

During the necropsy, mutant and control mice are health monitored and fully morphologically characterised. The exact body and organ weight/length measurements and description of lesions in the organs are recorded and photographed by our experienced necropsy technical personnel.  The macroscopically terminology used is in agreement with the mouse phenotyping annotation of data for high-throughput phenotyping (

The organs are collected, fixed in 4 % neutral buffered formalin and embedded in paraffin. For histological examination, haematoxylin-eosin stain (HE) is routinely used in the 28 organs listed below.  Other organs such as brown and white fat, pituitary gland, nasopharynx, skeletal muscle, sciatic nerve and bone can also be histologically examined on as a special request.

Cervical lymph nodeAdrenalsFuniculus spermaticus
Salivary glandKidneyProstate
TracheaUrinary bladderMale accessory gland
HeartSmall intestineVagina
LungLarge intestine

The microscopic analysis is performed by experienced veterinary or medical pathologists in identifying the incidence and severity of morphological manifestations of disease, taking into account sex, age and strain background derived-lesions and sectioning/staining artefacts. The use of digital documentation of histopathological findings (Hamamatsu scanner) and standardised terminology allow images of tissues to be copied and its pathological diagnosis to be shared into a wider phenotyping community.

Specific targeted analysis

Assuming  findings in the standard screening pipeline, additional specific targeted evaluations such special histochemical stains (Masson’s trichrome, Weigert’s elastic stain, Turnbull’s blue, Perls’ Prussian blue, Luxol Fast Blue, Tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and Periodic acid–Schiff), immunohistochemistry and double immunohistochemistry can be performed to provide further insight into the histopathological findings such as localisation and quantification (histomorphometry) of specific cells, tissue components and cell processes on histological sections.

The immunohistochemistry technique, using more than 200 primary antibodies for mouse, rat or human tissues, has been adapted and established for mouse tissue and is performed in an automated slide staining system (Discovery Ventana Medical System, Roche) to address expression patterns of proteins for the following issues: hematology and hemato-oncology, cell and tissue markers, stem cell marker, cell cycle and processes, signal transduction, growth factors, endocrine markers and phospho-specific antibodies.