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Assessment of postsurgical distress and pain in laboratory mice by nest complexity scoring


Jirkof, Paulin; Fleischmann, Thea; Cesarovic, Nikola; Rettich, Andreas; Vogel, Johannes; Arras, Margarete (2013). Assessment of postsurgical distress and pain in laboratory mice by nest complexity scoring. Laboratory Animals, 47(3):153-161.

Abstract

Preliminary studies have suggested a correlation between postsurgical pain and nest building behaviour in laboratory mice. However, there is no standardized measure for estimating pain by means of nest building performance. Here, we investigated nest building under various conditions, and scored nest complexity to assess postsurgical pain. Mice of both sexes, different strains [C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and B6D2-Tg(Pr-mSMalphaActin)V5rCLR-25], and kept under different housing conditions, showed no differences in their latency to use the offered nest material. Healthy female C57BL/6J mice were engaged 4.3% of the day with nest building and showed three peaks of this behaviour: in the beginning and middle of the light phase, and in the second half of the dark phase. For assessment of postsurgical pain, female C57BL/6J mice underwent a sham embryo transfer +/− different doses of the analgesic carprofen or control treatment. Nest complexity scoring at 9 h after the experimental treatments (i.e. at the end of the light phase) resulted in less than 10% of animals with noticeably manipulated nest material (nestlet) after surgery and more than 75% of healthy mice having built identifiable-to-complex nests or had noticeably manipulated nestlets, while animals after anaesthesia-only showed intermediate nest complexity. Carprofen analgesia resulted in no (5 mg/kg) or only slight (50 mg/kg) improvement of nest complexity after surgery. Thus, nest complexity scoring can be incorporated into daily laboratory routine and can be used in mice as a sensitive tool for detecting reduced wellbeing and general condition, but probably not for determining the efficacy of pain treatment.

Abstract

Preliminary studies have suggested a correlation between postsurgical pain and nest building behaviour in laboratory mice. However, there is no standardized measure for estimating pain by means of nest building performance. Here, we investigated nest building under various conditions, and scored nest complexity to assess postsurgical pain. Mice of both sexes, different strains [C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and B6D2-Tg(Pr-mSMalphaActin)V5rCLR-25], and kept under different housing conditions, showed no differences in their latency to use the offered nest material. Healthy female C57BL/6J mice were engaged 4.3% of the day with nest building and showed three peaks of this behaviour: in the beginning and middle of the light phase, and in the second half of the dark phase. For assessment of postsurgical pain, female C57BL/6J mice underwent a sham embryo transfer +/− different doses of the analgesic carprofen or control treatment. Nest complexity scoring at 9 h after the experimental treatments (i.e. at the end of the light phase) resulted in less than 10% of animals with noticeably manipulated nest material (nestlet) after surgery and more than 75% of healthy mice having built identifiable-to-complex nests or had noticeably manipulated nestlets, while animals after anaesthesia-only showed intermediate nest complexity. Carprofen analgesia resulted in no (5 mg/kg) or only slight (50 mg/kg) improvement of nest complexity after surgery. Thus, nest complexity scoring can be incorporated into daily laboratory routine and can be used in mice as a sensitive tool for detecting reduced wellbeing and general condition, but probably not for determining the efficacy of pain treatment.

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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
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Physiology
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Laboratory Animal Science
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:10 Oct 2013 06:27
Last Modified:15 Dec 2016 14:48
Publisher:Royal Society of Medicine Press
ISSN:0023-6772
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0023677213475603
PubMed ID:23563122

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