Locomotor activity in a novel environment as a test of inflammatory pain in rats

Methods Mol Biol. 2010;617:67-78. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-323-7_6.


Creating a robust and unbiased assay for the study of current and novel analgesics has been a daunting task. Traditional rodent models of pain and inflammation typically rely on a negative reaction to various forms of evoked stimuli to elicit a pain response and are subject to rater interpretation. Recently, models such as weight bearing and gait analysis have been developed to address these drawbacks while detecting a drug's analgesic properties. We have recently developed the Reduction of Spontaneous Activity by Adjuvant (RSAA) model as a quick, unbiased method for the testing of potential analgesics. Rats, following prior administration of an activity-decreasing inflammatory insult, will positively increase spontaneous locomotor exploration when given single doses of known analgesics. The RSAA model capitalizes on a rat's spontaneous exploratory behavior in a novel environment with the aid of computer tracking software to quantify movement and eliminate rater bias.

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / pharmacology
  • Amphetamine / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Environment
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Morphine / pharmacology
  • Morphine / therapeutic use
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement / instrumentation
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Morphine
  • Amphetamine