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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Jun 2024 - 14 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 07

Neurosci Biobehav Rev


Strategies for Measuring Non-Evoked Pain in Preclinical Models of Neuropathic Pain: Systematic Review.


Huerta MÁ, Cisneros E, Alique M, Roza C


The development of new analgesics for neuropathic pain treatment is crucial. The failure of promising drugs in clinical trials may be related to the over-reliance on reflex-based responses (evoked pain) in preclinical drug testing, which may not fully represent clinical neuropathic pain, characterized by spontaneous non-evoked pain (NEP). Hence, strategies for assessing NEP in preclinical studies emerged. This systematic review identified 443 articles evaluating NEP in neuropathic pain models (mainly traumatic nerve injuries in male rodents). An exponential growth in NEP evaluation was observed, which was assessed using 48 different tests classified in 12 NEP-related outcomes: anxiety, exploration/locomotion, paw lifting, depression, conditioned place preference, gait, autotomy, wellbeing, facial grooming, cognitive impairment, facial pain expressions and vocalizations. Although most of these outcomes showed clear limitations, our analysis suggests that conditioning-associated outcomes, pain-related comorbidities, and gait evaluation may be the most effective strategies. Moreover, a minimal part of the studies evaluated standard analgesics. The greater emphasis on evaluating NEP aligning with clinical pain symptoms may enhance analgesic drug development, improving clinical translation.