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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-39598

Jirkof, P; Cesarovic, N; Rettich, A; Nicholls, F; Seifert, Burkhardt; Arras, M (2010). Burrowing behavior as an indicator of post-laparotomy pain in mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 4:165.

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Detection of persistent pain of a mild-to-moderate degree in laboratory mice is difficult because mice do not show unambiguous symptoms of pain or suffering using standard methods of short-term observational or clinical monitoring. This study investigated the potential use of burrowing performance - a spontaneous and highly motivated behavior - as a measure of post-operative pain in laboratory mice. The influence of minor surgery on burrowing was investigated in adult C57BL/6J mice of both genders in a modified rodent burrowing test (displacement of food pellets from a pellet-filled tube) within the animal's home cage. Almost all (98%) healthy mice burrowed (mean latency 1.3 h, SEM 0.5 h). After surgery without pain treatment, latency of burrowing was significantly prolonged (mean Δ latency 10 h). Analgesic treatment using the anti-inflammatory drug carprofen (5 mg/kg bodyweight) decreased latency of burrowing after surgery (mean Δ latency 5.5 h) to the level found in mice that had been anesthetized (mean Δ latency 5.4 h) or had received anesthesia and analgesia (mean Δ latency 4.6 h). Analgesia during surgery was associated with a significantly earlier onset of burrowing compared to surgery without pain treatment. A distinct gradation in burrowing performance was found ranging from the undisturbed pre-operative status to the intermediate level following anesthesia/analgesia and surgery with analgesia, to the pronounced prolongation of latency to burrow after surgery without pain relief. In conclusion, post-surgical impairment of general condition, probably mainly attributable to pain, can be conveniently assessed in laboratory mice on the basis of the burrowing test.


27 citations in Web of Science®
29 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Division of Surgical Research
04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Laboratory Animal Science
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Medical Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Deposited On:16 Dec 2010 16:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:26
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Additional Information:This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. it is reproduced with permission.
Publisher DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2010.00165
PubMed ID:21031028

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