Tail Flick Test

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Hyperalgesia is a condition of enhanced sensitivity to painful stimuli. The Tail Flick Test measures the latency to thermal pain response and effectiveness of analgesics.

A number of clinically approved pharmacological agents have been demonstrated to delay the onset of heat sensitivity upon exposure to heat including opioids and GABA potentiators.

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Morphine Activity in a Rat Tail Flick Test.  Thirty minutes prior to drug administration, rats are held on a pre-heated tail flick apparatus. Once a tail flick response is observed, latency (seconds) to pain response was recorded, with a 15-second time-out period. After recording pre-treatment (Pre-TX) data, rats were dosed with vehicle, and two concentrations of morphine (1mg/kg or 10mg/kg) and tested at various time points. Rats dosed with 10 mg/kg morphine had significantly longer pain latency responses compared to vehicle. Data are mean ± SEM; *p<0.05; ***p<0.001 compared to vehicle, +++p<0.001 compared to morphine 1mg/kg dose.

The Tail Flick Test is typically run in an acute mode (study completed in one day) by evaluating test articles after a single administration. The variability is relatively low and statistical significance may be achieved with group sizes of about 8 to 10 animals. It can be performed in both mice and rats. Since it is non-invasive it can be easily incorporated several times over the course of a chronic study.