To monitor temporal patterns of glucocorticoids hormones in living animals, most often blood samples are collected. Blood sampling is invasive and subjects may find it – in particular – unpleasant when multiple samples are collected. We have developed a microfiltration collection device (MCD) sampling continuously, pulse-free, over a selected period of time, with minimum invasiveness as the device is inserted with only one venipuncture. The MCD consists of a hollow fiber membrane (probe), capillary collection coil and flow creator. Three biocompatible hollow fiber membranes were assessed on flow rate in rats, by placing the probe intraperitoneally, subcutaneously, or intravascularly and with or without heparin coating. The probe made from polyethylene coated with ethylene vinyl alcohol–heparin conveyed the best results and had the most benefit of the heparin coating. Consequently this probe was built into a collection device and tested in cows, sampling blood microfiltrate. Cortisol (protein-bound and -free) could be monitored in cows over a period of 7 hours. This device has several major advantages compared to manual blood collection: minor stress is induced by the application of the device; it has a low weight and can therefore be used in freely active subjects being in their own surroundings. The device can be sterilized and manufactured as a disposable tool, and the filled MCD can be shipped by regular mail to a specialized laboratory facility for analysis.
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