A novel method for convenient assessment of arthritic pain in voluntarily walking rats

Neurosci Lett. 2001 Aug 3;308(2):95-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(01)01983-8.


Quantification of arthritic pain can be very useful in elucidating the mechanisms of arthritis and in assessing the effect of anti-arthritic medication or treatment. Here we report a novel method that allows convenient measurements of the severity of arthritic pain in voluntarily walking rats. We constructed a device to measure the weight load on each leg while the animal was walking through a path, the bottom of which was equipped with strain gauge weight sensors. Using this device, we measured the weight load on the right hind leg before and after induction of arthritis by carrageenan injection into the knee joint cavity of this leg. The carrageenan injection resulted in a significant reduction of weight load on the affected leg; the load decreased to the minimum level at 4 h after the injection and gradually returned to the pre-injection level by the fifth day. Intraperitoneal administration of morphine at 5.5 h after carrageenan injection could reverse the weight load change. These results suggest that our new device is an effective tool for convenient measurements of arthritic pain in dynamic conditions like walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Arthritis / chemically induced
  • Arthritis / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis / physiopathology
  • Carrageenan / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Carrageenan / pharmacology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gait / drug effects
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Knee Joint / drug effects
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Morphine / pharmacology
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Morphine
  • Carrageenan