Implementation of analgesic refinement in rats used as models for arthritis and inflammatory pain

Klas Abelson

Many people suffer from different chronic pain conditions, caused by inflammatory diseases or damage to the nervous system. At the moment, there are very few treatments available that can relieve these chronic pain conditions satisfactory, which causes a lot of suffering in the patients. To develop functioning treatments against the pain, the use of laboratory animals is inevitable at the moment. However, using animals in pain research is an ethical problem, since the animals often are subjected to various degrees of pain, which in some cases are long lasting and can’t be avoided by the animals. These animals are rarely treated with any pain medication, since medication may be withheld as a precaution based on a suspicion that the medication may interfere with the development of the model. However, we have recently shown that it may be possible to treat a certain arthritis model with buprenorphine, with some improvement of the animal well-being, but with no or minor interference to the relevant parameters.

The present research project will continue the previously initiated research. The first step with be to refine and optimize the rat model in question, in order to increase the success rate in model development and minimizing adverse effects on surrounding tissues, outside the joint, that is irrelevant to the model. When the optimal method for developing the model is established, the second step will be to implement the most relevant treatment against pain that we have found in previous studies, in order to find a strategy for application of pain relief in this model of arthritis, with no or minimal negative influence on the research parameters. This knowledge can be used to establish strategies and recommendations also in other models of pain, to avoid any unnecessary pain and suffering in these animals.

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