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Prolonged pain research in mice: trends in reference to the 3Rs

By J. Balcombe, H. Ferdowsian, L. Briese

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This literature review documents trends in the use of mice in prolonged pain research, defined herein as research that subjects mice to a source of pain for at least 14 days. The total amount of prolonged pain research on mice has increased dramatically in the past decade for the 3 pain categories examined: neuropathic, inflammatory, and chronic pain. There has also been a significant rise in the number of prolonged mouse pain studies as a proportion of all mouse studies and of all mouse pain studies. The use of transgenic mice has also risen significantly in prolonged pain research, though not as a proportion of all mice used in prolonged pain research. There has not been significant overall change in the number of mice being used per study for any of the 3 pain categories or for any of 3 common pain inducement models: chronic constriction injury, partial sciatic nerve ligation, and complete Freund's adjuvant. Finally, although most authors referred to approval of experiments by an institutional nonhuman animal use committee, there were no references to the "3Rs" in a random selection of 55 papers examined. Given the proportionally high volume of mice used in invasive research and the gravity of studies that inflict lasting pain, these trends raise serious questions about whether the 3Rs principles of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement are being appropriately implemented by researchers and institutions.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 77-95
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2013.741004
Language English
Author Address Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, Dist. of Columbia,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adjuvants
  2. Animal genetics
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Genetic engineering
  6. Humans
  7. Ligature
  8. Literature reviews
  9. Mammals
  10. Men
  11. Mice
  12. models
  13. Non-communicable diseases and injuries
  14. Pain
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. Pesticides and Drugs
  17. Primates
  18. Research
  19. researchers
  20. Rodents
  21. transgenics
  22. trauma
  23. vertebrates
  24. welfare
  1. peer-reviewed