Preclinical assessment of pain: Improving models in discovery research

Tamara King, Frank Porreca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


To date, animal models have not sufficiently ‘‘filtered’’ targets for new analgesics, increasing the failure rate and cost of drug development. Preclinical assessment of ‘‘pain’’ has historically relied on measures of evoked behavioral responses to sensory stimuli in animals. Such measures can often be observed in decerebrated animals and therefore may not sufficiently capture affective and motivational aspects of pain, potentially diminishing translation from preclinical studies to the clinical setting. Further, evidence indicates that there are important mechanistic differences between evoked behavioral responses of hypersensitivity and ongoing pain, limiting evaluation of mechanisms that could mediate aspects of clinically relevant pain. The mechanisms underlying ongoing pain in preclinical models are currently being explored and may serve to inform decisions towards the transition from drug discovery to drug development for a given target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent topics in behavioral neurosciences
StatePublished - 2014


  • Affective
  • Motivational behaviors
  • Ongoing pain
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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