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Open Access Efficacy of Tramadol as a Sole Analgesic for Postoperative Pain in Male and Female Mice

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Tramadol is a centrally acting weak μ opioid agonist that has few of the adverse side effects common to other opioids. Little work has been done to establish an effective analgesic dose of tramadol specific for surgical laparotomy and visceral manipulation in mice. We used general appearance parameters to score positive indicators of pain including posture, coat condition, activity, breathing, and interactions with other mice, activity events (that is, the number of times each mouse stretched up in a 3-min period) used as an indicator of decreased pain, von Frey fibers, and plasma levels of corticosterone to determine whether tramadol at 20, 40, or 80 mg/kg prevented postoperative pain in male and female C57BL/6 mice. A ventral midline laparotomy with typhlectomy was used as a model of postoperative pain. In male mice, none of the markers differed between groups that received tramadol (regardless of dose) and the saline-treated controls. However, general appearance scores and plasma corticosterone levels were lower in female mice that received 80 mg/kg tramadol compared with saline. In summary, for severe postoperative pain after laparotomy and aseptic typhlectomy, tramadol was ineffective in male C57BL/6 mice at all doses tested. Although 80 mg/kg ameliorated postoperative pain in female C57BL/6 mice, this dose is very close to the threshold reported to cause toxic side effects, such as tremors and seizures. Therefore, we do not recommend the use of tramadol as a sole analgesic in this mouse model of postoperative pain.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. [email protected] 2: Animal Resource Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 3: Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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