Talk:Mouse Estrous Cycle

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2021, December 7) Embryology Mouse Estrous Cycle. Retrieved from

Naturally occurring Foxp3+regulatory T cells play an important role in the inhibition of an immunological attack of the fetus. As implantation of the fetus poses an immediate antigenic challenge, the immune system has to prepare itself for this event prior to implantation.


Vaginal Cytology of the Laboratory Rat and Mouse: Review and Criteria for the Staging of the Estrous Cycle Using Stained Vaginal Smears

Toxicol Pathol. 2015 Mar 3. pii: 0192623315570339.

Cora MC1, Kooistra L2, Travlos G3.


Microscopic evaluation of the types of cells present in vaginal smears has long been used to document the stages of the estrous cycle in laboratory rats and mice and as an index of the functional status of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. The estrous cycle is generally divided into the four stages of proestrus, estrus, metestrus, and diestrus. On cytological evaluation, these stages are defined by the absence, presence, or proportion of 4 basic cell types as well as by the cell density and arrangement of the cells on the slide. Multiple references regarding the cytology of the rat and mouse estrous cycle are available. Many contemporary references and studies, however, have relatively abbreviated definitions of the stages, are in reference to direct wet mount preparations, or lack comprehensive illustrations. This has led to ambiguity and, in some cases, a loss of appreciation for the encountered nuances of dividing a steadily moving cycle into 4 stages. The aim of this review is to provide a detailed description, discussion, and illustration of vaginal cytology of the rat and mouse estrous cycle as it appears on smears stained with metachromatic stains. © 2015 by The Author(s). KEYWORDS: diestrus; estrus; metestrus.; proestrus

PMID 25739587


Mouse estrous cycle identification tool and images

PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35538. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035538. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Byers SL1, Wiles MV, Dunn SL, Taft RA.


The efficiency of producing timed pregnant or pseudopregnant mice can be increased by identifying those in proestrus or estrus. Visual observation of the vagina is the quickest method, requires no special equipment, and is best used when only proestrus or estrus stages need to be identified. Strain to strain differences, especially in coat color can make it difficult to determine the stage of the estrous cycle accurately by visual observation. Presented here are a series of images of the vaginal opening at each stage of the estrous cycle for 3 mouse strains of different coat colors: black (C57BL/6J), agouti (CByB6F1/J) and albino (BALB/cByJ). When all 4 stages (proestrus, estrus, metestrus, and diestrus) need to be identified, vaginal cytology is regarded as the most accurate method. An identification tool is presented to aid the user in determining the stage of estrous when using vaginal cytology. These images and descriptions are an excellent resource for learning how to determine the stage of the estrous cycle by visual observation or vaginal cytology.

PMID 22514749