Background: Deep pain is neglected compared with cutaneous sources. Pressure algometry has been validated in the clinic for assessment of bone-related pain in humans. In animal models of bone-related pain, we have validated the Randall Selitto behavioural test for assessment of acute and pathological bone pain and compared the outcome with more traditional pain-related behaviour measures. Methods: Randall Selitto pressure algometry was performed over the anteromedial part of the tibia in naïve rats, sham-operated rats, and rats inoculated with MRMT-1 carcinoma cells in the left tibia, and the effect of morphine was investigated. Randall Selitto measures of cancer-induced bone pain were supplemented by von Frey testing, weight-bearing and limb use test. Contribution of cutaneous nociception to Randall Selitto measures were examined by local anaesthesia. Results: Randall Selitto pressure algometry over the tibia resulted in reproducible withdrawal thresholds, which were dose-dependently increased by morphine. Cutaneous nociception did not contribute to Randall Selitto measures. In cancer-bearing animals, compared with sham, significant differences in pain-related behaviours were demonstrated by the Randall Selitto test on day 17 and 21 post-surgery. A difference was also demonstrated by von Frey testing, weight-bearing and limb use tests. Conclusion: Our results indicate that pressure applied by the Randall Selitto algometer on a region, where the bone is close to the skin, may offer a way to measure bone-related pain in animal models and could provide a supplement to the traditional behavioural tests and a means to study deep pain.
European Journal of Pain, 2015, Vol 19, Issue 3, p. 305-312