Tests and models of nociception and pain in rodents

Neuroscience. 2012 Jun 1;211:39-50. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.12.041. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Nociception and pain is a large field of both neuroscience and medical research. Over time, various tests and models were developed in rodents to provide tools for fundamental and translational research on the topic. Tests using thermal, mechanical, and chemical stimuli, measures of hyperalgesia and allodynia, models of inflammatory or neuropathic pain, constitute a toolbox available to researchers. These tests and models allowed rapid progress on the anatomo-molecular basis of physiological and pathological pain, even though they have yet to translate into new analgesic drugs. More recently, a growing effort has been put forth trying to assess pain in rats or mice, rather than nociceptive reflexes, or at studying complex states affected by chronic pain. This aids to further improve the translational value of preclinical research in a field with balanced research efforts between fundamental research, preclinical work, and human studies. This review describes classical tests and models of nociception and pain in rodents. It also presents some recent and ongoing developments in nociceptive tests, recent trends for pain evaluation, and raises the question of the appropriateness between tests, models, and procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Nociception*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain*
  • Rodentia*