Friday, 7 June 2013

Do MS models of MS feel pain?

Epub: Tian et al. Neuropathic Pain in Animal Models of Nervous System Autoimmune Diseases. Mediators Inflamm. 2013;2013:298326. 

Background: Neuropathic pain is a frequent chronic presentation in autoimmune diseases of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), causing significant individual disablement and suffering. Animal models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and experimental autoimmune neuritis (EAN) mimic many aspects of MS and GBS, respectively, and are well suited to study the pathophysiology of these autoimmune diseases. However, while much attention has been devoted to curative options, research into neuropathic pain mechanisms and relief has been somewhat lacking. 

Interpretation: Recent studies have demonstrated a variety of sensory abnormalities in different EAE and EAN models, which enable investigations of behavioural changes, underlying mechanisms, and potential pharmacotherapies for neuropathic pain associated with these diseases. 

Conclusions: This review examines the symptoms, mechanisms, and clinical therapeutic options in these conditions and highlights the value of EAE and EAN animal models for the study of neuropathic pain in MS and GBS.


It is a question on whether you can use these models to look at pain, we too have asked the question. This is a worthy question and something that it would be good to know, but is a disease of a few days going to tell us about the pain evolving over many years...the former you can probably treat with an opioid and paracetamol the later as many people know is a problem to deal with. 

Animals show an altered sensory response before disease develops and EAE attacks the sensory tracts in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord so their sensation will get messed up. They show allodynia a withdrawal response away from something that was not considered painful before EAE, during paralytic disease they are anaesthetic and do not feel. What happens after is debatable.......however once people start investigating and reporting pain then this adds an additional level of complexity to the ethics of doing these experiments and will add a further nail in the coffin in many places..........so to the pain modellers reading this, it is best to ensure that the experiments are well designed and meaningful (This is not acute EAE!) and translatable. 

I do think there are systems/models where this can be examined but having spent £10,000 or standard measuring devices that have so far proved useless maybe is time to get back in the lab to look for "pain faces".

3 comments:

  1. MouseDoc, do you ever get attached to some of the rodents you work on? Like, have you ever adopted one as a pet because you felt some affection towards it? Do you have any pets?

    The number of rodents killed in the name of MS research must be huge compared to progress made.

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    Replies
    1. We had one called Kate (Moss) once as we were taking photographs. You can't really get attached to the mice and be able to do what we do.
      The MouseDoc had a cat until recently (Caspar).

      Yes, the numbers of rodents killed in the name of MS research (some of it justified, some not) is huge but without the there wouldn't have been much progress at all.

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