The effect of handling on the mouse grimace scale in two strains of laboratory mice

Amy Miller, Matt Leach

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Pain assessment in laboratory animals is an ethical and legal requirement. The mouse grimace scale (MGS) is a new method of pain assessment deemed to be both accurate and reliable, and observers can be rapidly trained to use it. In order for a new pain assessment technique to be effective, we must ensure that the score awarded by the technique is only influenced by pain and not by other husbandry or non-painful but integral aspects of research protocols. Here, we studied 16 male mice, housed under standard laboratory conditions. Eight mice were randomly assigned to tail handling and eight to tube handling on arrival at the unit. On each occasion the mice were removed from their cage for routine husbandry, they were picked up using their assigned handling method. Photographs of the mouse faces were then scored by treatment-blind observers as per the MGS manual (see Nature Methods 2010, Vol. 7, pp 447–449), and scores from the two groups were compared. There was no significant difference in MGS scores between the mice that had been handled using a tube compared with the tail. Consequently, these methods of handling did not influence the baseline grimace score given, suggesting that these handling techniques are not confounding factors when establishing baseline MGS scores, further validating this technique
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-307
Number of pages3
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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