A commentary on modelling osteoarthritis pain in small animals

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1316-26. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.06.003.


Objective: To describe the currently used animal models for the study of osteoarthritis (OA) pain, with an emphasis on small animals (predominantly mice and rats).

Outline: Narrative review summarizing the opportunities and limitations of the most commonly used small animal models for the study of pain and pain pathways associated with OA, and discussing currently used methods for pain assessment. Involvement of neural degeneration in OA is briefly discussed. A list of considerations when studying pain-related behaviours and pathways in animal models of OA is proposed.

Conclusions: Animal models offer great potential to unravel the complex pathophysiology of OA pain, its molecular and temporal regulation. They constitute a critical pathway for developing and testing disease-specific symptom-modifying therapeutic interventions. However, a number of issues remain to be resolved in order to standardize pre-clinical OA pain research and to optimize translation to clinical trials and patient therapies.

Keywords: Animal models; Osteoarthritis; Pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthralgia / physiopathology*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Mice*
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Rats*