Effects of buprenorphine on acute pain and inflammation in the adjuvant-induced monoarthritis rat model

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Background and aim: Animal modelling of arthritis is often associated with pain and suffering. Severity may be reduced with the use of analgesia which is, however, often withheld due to concerns of introducing a confounding variable. It is therefore important to design and validate pain relief protocols that reduce pain without compromising the scientific objectives. The present study evaluated the effect of buprenorphine analgesia in the immediate post-induction period of an adjuvant-induced monoarthritic rat model. The aim of this study was to extend previous work on refinement of the model by alleviating unnecessary pain. Methods: Male and female Sprague Dawley rats were injected with 20 μl of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into the left ankle. Rats were treated with buprenorphine, either injected subcutaneously or ingested voluntarily, and were compared to rats given subcutaneous injections with vehicle (saline or pure nut paste) or carprofen the first three days post CFA-injection. Measurements of welfare, clinical model-specific parameters and pain-related behaviour were assessed. Results: Buprenorphine, administered either subcutaneously (0.10 or 0.15 mg/kg, twice daily) or by voluntary ingestion in nut paste (1.0 or 3.0 mg/kg, twice daily), improved mobility, stance, rearing and lameness scores significantly 7 h post CFA-injection. Mechanical hyperalgesia peaked at 7 h and was significantly lower in buprenorphine-treated animals, compared to vehicle-treated animals. Joint circumference was highest 24–72 h after CFA injection. Animals treated with buprenorphine did not decrease in joint circumference, opposite carprofen treated animals. Conclusion: Buprenorphine, administered either subcutaneously or by voluntary ingestion, provides adequate analgesia for both sexes within the first 24 h post CFA-injection. Buprenorphine treatment improved clinical scores and appeared not to suppress the inflammatory response. The present study supports previous findings that voluntarily ingested buprenorphine is an effective alternative to repeated injections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11554
Issue number11
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022

    Research areas

  • Adjuvant-induced monoarthritis rat model, Analgesia, Animal pain model, Refinement

ID: 326837594