Coding of facial expressions of pain in the laboratory mouse

Nat Methods. 2010 Jun;7(6):447-9. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1455. Epub 2010 May 9.


Facial expression is widely used as a measure of pain in infants; whether nonhuman animals display such pain expressions has never been systematically assessed. We developed the mouse grimace scale (MGS), a standardized behavioral coding system with high accuracy and reliability; assays involving noxious stimuli of moderate duration are accompanied by facial expressions of pain. This measure of spontaneously emitted pain may provide insight into the subjective pain experience of mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Facial Expression*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods*