Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Mouse grimace scale' to help identify pain in humans and animals

Date:
May 10, 2010
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
A new study by psychologists in Canada shows that mice, like humans, express pain through facial expressions. The researchers have discovered that when subjected to moderate pain stimuli, mice showed discomfort through facial expressions in the same way humans do.

A newly developed Mouse Grimace Scale could inform better treatments for humans and improve conditions for lab animals, psychology researchers say.
Credit: iStockphoto

A new study by researchers from McGill University and the University of British Columbia shows that mice, like humans, express pain through facial expressions. The research will not only be an important tool in helping scientists ensure that laboratory animals don't suffer unnecessarily, but could lead to new and better pain-relief drugs for humans.

McGill Psychology Prof. Jeffrey Mogil, UBC Psychology Prof. Kenneth Craig and their respective teams have discovered that when subjected to moderate pain stimuli, mice showed discomfort through facial expressions in the same way humans do. Their study, published online May 9 in the journal Nature Methods, also details the development of a Mouse Grimace Scale that could inform better treatments for humans and improve conditions for lab animals.

Because pain research relies heavily on rodent models, an accurate measurement of pain is paramount in understanding the most pervasive and important symptom of chronic pain, namely spontaneous pain, says Mogil.

"The Mouse Grimace Scale provides a measurement system that will both accelerate the development of new analgesics for humans, but also eliminate unnecessary suffering of laboratory mice in biomedical research," says Mogil. "There are also serious implications for the improvement of veterinary care more generally."

This is the first time researchers have successfully developed a scale to measure spontaneous responses in animals that resemble human responses to those same painful states.

Mogil, graduate student Dale Langford and colleagues in the Pain Genetics Lab at McGill analyzed images of mice before and during moderate pain stimuli -- for example, the injection of dilute inflammatory substances, as are commonly used around the world for testing pain sensitivity in rodents. The level of pain studied could be comparable, researchers said, to a headache or the pain associated with an inflamed and swollen finger easily treated by common analgesics like Aspirin or Tylenol.

Mogil then sent the images to Craig's lab at UBC, where facial pain coding experts used them to develop the scale. Craig's team proposed that five facial features be scored: orbital tightening (eye closing), nose and cheek bulges and ear and whisker positions according to the severity of the stimulus. Craig's laboratory is a leader in studying facial expression as the standard for assessing pain in human infants and others with verbal communication limitations. This work is an example of successful "bedside-to-bench" translation, where a technique known to be relevant in our species is adapted for use in laboratory experiments.

Continuing experiments in the lab will investigate whether the scale works equally well in other species, whether analgesic drugs given to mice after surgical procedures work well at their commonly prescribed doses, and whether mice can respond to the facial pain cues of other mice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dale J Langford, Andrea L Bailey, Mona Lisa Chanda, Sarah E Clarke, Tanya E Drummond, Stephanie Echols, Sarah Glick, Joelle Ingrao, Tammy Klassen-Ross, Michael L LaCroix-Fralish, Lynn Matsumiya, Robert E Sorge, Susana G Sotocinal, John M Tabaka, David Wong, Arn M J M van den Maagdenberg, Michel D Ferrari, Kenneth D Craig & Jeffrey S Mogil. Coding of facial expressions of pain in the laboratory mouse. Nature Methods, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1455

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "'Mouse grimace scale' to help identify pain in humans and animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100509144655.htm>.
McGill University. (2010, May 10). 'Mouse grimace scale' to help identify pain in humans and animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100509144655.htm
McGill University. "'Mouse grimace scale' to help identify pain in humans and animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100509144655.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins