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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Sep 2022 - 23 Sep 2022

2022 Aug 30

J Vis Exp


Back Mechanical Sensitivity Assessment in the Rat for Mechanistic Investigation of Chronic Back Pain.


Khosravi H, Eskandari N, Provencher B, Paquette T, Leblond H, Khalilzadeh E, Piché M
J Vis Exp. 2022 Aug 30(186).
PMID: 36121286.


Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with dramatic personal, economic, and social consequences. To develop novel therapeutics, animal models are needed to examine the mechanisms and effectiveness of novel therapies from a translational perspective. Several rodent models of back pain are used in current investigations. Surprisingly, however, no standardized behavioral test was validated to assess mechanical sensitivity in back pain models. This is critical to confirm that animals with presumed back pain present local hypersensitivity to nociceptive stimuli, and to monitor sensitivity during interventions designed to relieve back pain. The objective of this study is to lay down a simple and accessible test to assess mechanical sensitivity in the back of rats. A test cage was fabricated specifically for this method; length x width x height: 50 x 20 x 7 cm, having a stainless-steel mesh on the top. This test cage allows the application of mechanical stimuli to the back. To perform the test, the back of the animal is shaved in the region of interest, and the test area is marked to repeat the test on different days, as needed. The mechanical threshold is determined with Von Frey filaments applied to the paraspinal muscles, utilizing the up-down method described previously. The positive responses include (1) muscle twitching, (2) arching (back extension), (3) rotation of the neck (4) scratching or licking the back, and (5) escaping. This behavioral test (Back Mechanical Sensitivity (BMS) test) is useful for mechanistic research with rodent models of back pain for the development of therapeutic interventions for the prevention and management of back pain.