In vivo estimation of pigmentation in ultraviolet-exposed hairless mice


Laboratory of Photobiology, Department of Dermatology, National University Hospital, Rigshospitalet H-5192, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark


A new in vivo method of visual scoring of pigmentation in hairless hr/hr mice with a C3H/Tif background is described. The mice were placed under a bank of 6 Philips TL08 fluorescent ultraviolet A (UVA) tubes in a dark room, and the pigmentation of the skin was compared with a Kodak Gray Scale with 20 different shades from white to black. The radiation from the tubes changed both the color of the back of the mouse and the gray scale into purple hues. The purple color of the back of each mouse could then be classified as one of 20 shades on the gray scale. An experiment was conducted exposing 3 groups of 20 mice to different doses of UV radiation from Philips TL01 tubes. One group of 20 mice was not irradiated and served as control. The pigmentation of each mouse was scored by one investigator every 2–3 weeks. After a few weeks of exposure a clear distinction between the groups was seen. To evaluate the inter- and intrapersonal variation of the method, 30 mice with various degrees of pigmentation were scored independently and blindly by two investigators. This was done twice during the study with a few days' interval. No interpersonal difference was found, but one investigator scored differently the first and second time by only 0.5 points. The described method provides a reproducible in vivo method, with very good discrimination, for estimation of pigmentation in hairless mice.