Response latencies in the tail-flick test depend on tail skin temperature

Neurosci Lett. 1988 Apr 12;86(3):284-8. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(88)90497-1.


Tail skin temperatures and tail-flick latencies were simultaneously recorded in male Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to various ambient temperatures (22-30 degrees C). There was a positive correlation between tail skin temperature and ambient temperature and a negative correlation between tail-flick latency and ambient temperature. Importantly, a highly significant negative correlation was present between tail-flick latency and skin temperature, even at constant ambient temperature (22.1 or 23.3 degrees C). Thus, the results of tail-flick testing are highly affected by skin temperature and factors altering the skin temperature must be considered when tail-flick latencies are interpreted in terms of nociception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Male
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Skin / innervation*
  • Tail / innervation