Basically, a radiant heat is applied on the tail; when the animal feels discomfort, it reacts by a sudden tail’s movement (tail flick) which automatically stops the stimulation and the timer for the measurement of the animal reaction time (period from the beginning of the stimulation until detection of the animal’s response).
This test has proved particularly sensitive for studying the analgesic properties of pharmacological substances. It can also be used to evaluate basal thermal pain sensitivity or to study putative genetic differences among animals without drug (‘naïve’).
The LE7106 Tail-flick Meter consists of a Stimulation Unit (containing the halogen lamp for the heat stimulus) and an electronic Control Unit. The system can be used for rats and mice of different sizes. The animals are placed with its tail protruding within a restraining tube on the platform of the Stimulus Unit. The animal’s tail is positioned on a slot of adjustable width equipped with a groove that guarantees a correct placement of the rodent’s tail. A remote foot-switch controls the test start/stop allowing rapid hands-free experiments.
A photo beam detects the tail flick and the latency is automatically presented on a digital display on the Control Unit. Measurements of reaction time are given with a 0.01 s precision. A cut-off time is set to avoid tissue damage (by default: 20 s). The precise control of the heat stimulus and the groove system ensure optimum repeatability and reliability of results.
The optional SeDacom software (new version 2.0 available) can be used and represents an easy and convenient way to visualize and export the data on a computer for further analysis.