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Mechanical Nociception in Mice and Rats: Measurement with Automated von Frey Equipment.

von Frey hairs are important tools for the study of mechanisms of cutaneous stimulation-induced sensory input. Mechanical force is exerted via application of a particular hair to the cutaneous receptive field until buckling of the hair occurs. The most commonly used von Frey filaments are productive in evaluating behavioral responses of neuropathic pain in preclinical and clinical research. To reduce the potential experimenter bias, automated instruments are being developed for behavioral assessment.

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Patch Clamp Analysis of Opioid-Induced Kir3 Currents in Mouse Peripheral Sensory Neurons Following Nerve Injury.

Patch clamp is an electrophysiological technique that allows to analyze the activity of ion channels in neurons. In this chapter, we provide a detailed description of patch clamp protocol to measure the effect of a μ-opioid receptor agonist on the activity of G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK or Kir3) channels. This is performed in peripheral sensory neurons isolated from dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of mice without or with a chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, which models neuropathic pain. We describe the induction of the CCI , isolation and culture of DRG neurons, performance of the patch clamp recordings, and identification of opioid-responding neurons.

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Assessment of the Pros and Cons of Clinically Relevant Methods to Assess Pain in Rodents.

The primary objective of preclinical pain research is to improve the treatment of pain. Decades of research using pain-evoked tests has revealed much about mechanisms but failed to deliver new treatments. Evoked pain-tests are often limited because they ignore spontaneous pain and motor or disruptive side effects confound interpretation of results. New tests have been developed to focus more closely on clinical goals such as reducing pathological pain and restoring function. The objective of this review is to describe and discuss several of these tests. We focus on: Grimace Scale, Operant Behavior, Wheel Running, Burrowing, Nesting, Home Cage Monitoring, Gait Analysis and Conditioned Place Preference/ Aversion. A brief description of each method is presented along with an analysis of the advantages and limitations. The pros and cons of each test will help researchers identify the assessment tool most appropriate to meet their particular objective to assess pain in rodents. These tests provide another tool to unravel the mechanisms underlying chronic pain and help overcome the translational gap in drug development.

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