MONTREAL, May 17 (UPI) — Canadian researchers say they’ve created a mouse grimace scale that shows mice, as do humans, express pain through their facial expressions.
The researchers at the University of British Columbia and McGill University said their scale will help identify pain in animals and in humans.
McGill Professor Jeffrey Mogil and UBC Professor Kenneth Craig and their teams said they discovered that when subjected to moderate pain stimuli, mice showed discomfort through facial expressions in the same way humans do. They said the Mouse Grimace Scale they subsequently developed might 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, Mogil said.
“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,” Mogil said. “There are also serious implications for the improvement of veterinary care more generally.”
He said the research marks the first time scientists have successfully developed a scale to measure spontaneous responses in animals that resemble human responses to the same painful states.
The study that included graduate student Dale Langford appears in the journal Nature Methods.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.