Tail-flick test response in 3×Tg-AD mice at early and advanced stages of disease

Raquel Baeta-Corral, Ruti Defrin, Chagi G. Pick, Lydia Giménez-Llort*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the impact of pain in cognitive dysfunctions and affective disorders has been largely studied, the research that examines pain dimensions in cognitive impairment or dementia is still scarce. In patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias, management of pain is challenging. While the sensory-discriminative dimension of pain is preserved, the cognitive-evaluative and the affective-motivational pain dimensions are affected. Due to the complexity of the disease and the poor self-reports, pain is underdiagnosed and undertreated. In confluence with an impaired thermoregulatory behavior, the patients' ability to confront environmental stressors such as cold temperature can put them at risk of fatal accidental hypothermia. Here, 3xTg-AD mice demonstrate that the sensorial-discriminative threshold to a noxious cold stimulus, as measured by the latency of tail-flicking, was preserved at early and advances stages of disease (7 and 11 month-old, respectively) as compared to age-matched (adulthood and middle aged, respectively) non-transgenic mice (NTg). In both genotypes, the sensory deterioration and poor thermoregulatory behavior associated to age was observed as an increase of tail-flick response and poor sensorimotor performance. At both stages studied, 3xTg-AD mice exhibited BPSD (Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia)-like alterations in the corner, open-field, dark-light box and the T-maze tests. In the adult NTg mice, this nociceptive withdrawal response was correlated with copying with stress-related behaviors. This integrative behavioral profile was lost in both groups of 3xTg-AD mice and middle aged controls, suggesting derangements in their subjacent networks and the complex interplay between the pain dimensions in the elderly with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2015


  • 3xTg-AD mice
  • Age
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cold stimulus
  • Frailty
  • Tail-flick test


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