Prof. Dr. Rolf-Detlef Treede
Department Neurophysiology, CBTM Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University
Dr. Anke Tappe-Theodor
Institute of Pharmacology, Medical Faculty Heidelberg, Heidelberg University
Standardization and new development of pain-related models and methods in rodents and humans
Background and central theme:


Homogeneity of model systems and measurement techniques is a critical prerequisite for the CRC, which includes standardization and expansion of previously acquired methodological achievements and support of rodent and human projects to ensure reproducibility, meaningful comparison and translation. Moreover, an expansion of assessment methods and models is necessary to promote both rodent as well as human studies unravelling pain circuits. In the first funding period, these service activities led to several joint papers with other subprojects and associated projects.

Rodent studies:

We evaluated several evoked, stimulus-independent and voluntary behavioural paradigms over the time course of classical hindpaw inflammatory and neuropathic pain models in mice. We supported and trained all rodent-oriented projects for successful implementation of preclinical model and pain readouts. We also established novel mouse models for widespread back pain and postamputation pain and we investigated the impact of anxiety on pain and vice versa. 

Human studies:

We implemented questionnaires to assess ongoing pain (e.g. ‘Pain Detect Questionnaire’), standardized and implemented several behavioural and electrophysiological paradigms of evoked pain (Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST), Conditioned Pain Modulation (CPM), RIII reflex etc.), trained collaborators in QST and reflex measures and enabled them to obtain sensory testing evidence for central sensitization in patients. 

Hypothesis or central question:

S01 will continue support to all projects with respect to clinical and preclinical models and methods that have been established in the first funding period. In the second funding period, we will expand the spectrum of preclinical models, develop functional biomarkers of evoked and ongoing pain in rodents and humans, establish and integrate new methods for the examination of clinical pain conditions and test their predictive value with respect to the efficacy of treatment strategies. 

Rodent studies:

We will continue to provide individually tailored support, and pursue these new specific aims:

  1. 1. Characterization and further development of post-amputation pain models
  2. 2. Establishment of visceral and somatic pain models and offer as service to all projects
  3. 3. Analysis and development of tests for studying psychosocial influences on pain
Human studies:

We will continue to provide individually tailored support, and pursue these new specific aims:

  • 4: Assessment of spinal nociceptive processing in patients with neuropathy (Diabetes, Fabry’s disease), and in patients treated with spinal cord stimulation (SCS)
  • 5: Assessment of descending controls and their therapeutic modulation in patients with chronic pain
  • 6: Integration of EEG methodology (Time-Frequency Analysis, Dipole Source Analysis)
Expected insights: The newly-developed animal and human models and methods constitute a valuable portfolio to investigate mechanisms of chronic pain and to ensure translation of insights as well as therapeutic approaches.