Cannulation of the internal carotid artery in mice: A novel technique for intra-arterial delivery of therapeutics

Alejandro Santillan, David G. Rubin, Conor P. Foley, Dolan Sondhi, Ronald G. Crystal, Y. Pierre Gobin, Douglas J. Ballon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


We have developed a novel minimally invasive technique for the intra-arterial delivery of therapeutics to the mouse brain. CD-1 mice were anesthetized and placed in a lateral decubitus position. A 10. mm midline longitudinal incision was made over the thyroid bone. The omohyoid and sternomastoid muscles were retracted to expose the common carotid artery and external carotid artery (ECA). To maximize delivery of administered agents, the superior thyroid artery was ligated or coagulated, and the occipital artery and the pterygopalatine artery (PPA) were temporarily occluded with 6-0 prolene suture. The ECA was carefully dissected and a permanent ligature was placed on its distal segment while a temporary 6-0 prolene ligature was placed on the proximal segment in order to obtain a flow-free segment of vessel. A sterilized 169. μm outer diameter polyimide microcatheter was introduced into the ECA and advanced in retrograde fashion toward the carotid bifurcation. The catheter was then secured and manually rotated so that the microcatheter tip was oriented cephalad in the internal carotid artery (ICA). We were able to achieve reproducible results for selective ipsilateral hemispheric carotid injections of mannitol mediated therapeutics and/or gadolinium-based MRI contrast agent. Survival rates were dependent on the administered agent and ranged from 78 to 90%. This technique allows for reproducible delivery of agents to the ipsilateral cerebral hemisphere by utilizing anterograde catheter placement and temporary ligation of the PPA. This method is cost-effective and associated with a low rate of morbimortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2014



  • Internal carotid artery
  • Intra-arterial
  • Mannitol
  • Microcatheter
  • Mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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