Reactivity to noxious stimuli in rats is altered following acute exposure to tail-pinch. However, while our laboratory has reported that tail-pinch produces hyperalgesia as measured by the flinch-jump test and attenuates analgesic responses following morphine and cold-water swims, others have found that tail-pinch elicits an opioid-sensitive analgesia on the hot plate test and a nonopioid-sensitive analgesia on the writhing test. The first experiment of the present study examined whether tail-pinch altered responses on two somatic pain tests and showed that tail-pinch significantly decreased both jump thresholds and tail-flick latencies. In assessing whether tail-pinch hyperalgesia on the jump test was mediated by endogenous opioids, the second experiment indicated that low (0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg) doses of naloxone eliminated tail-pinch hyperalgesia by selectively lowering control thresholds and a high (10 mg/kg) dose of naloxone eliminated tail-pinch hyperalgesia by selectively increasing thresholds following tail-pinch. Further, the third experiment showed that morphine-tolerant rats (10 mg/kg morphine daily over 14 days) did not exhibit tail-pinch hyperalgesia on the 15th day, an effect attributable to a selective lowering of control thresholds. The fourth experiment was a direct replication of the observation that tail-pinch produces analgesia on the writhing test which is not antagonized by naloxone. These results demonstrate that the pain test employed and the amount of prior tail-pinch experience are critical variables in determining the direction of tail-pinch effects upon pain perception in rats.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by NIH GRSG 5-SO5RRO7064. The naloxone was generously donated by Endo Laboratories (EL DuPont Co.). Send all reprint requests to Dr. R. Bodnar, Department of Psychology, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, New York 11367.