Inescapable Shock-Induced Potentiation of Morphine Analgesia

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Exposure to various stressors potentiates nociceptive and nonnociceptive responses to morphine. These phenomena have received little study despite their seeming generality and importance for understanding analgesia and opiate action. The present experiments characterize inescapable shock (IS)-induced potentiation of morphine analgesia. Rats were exposed to IS, equal escapable shocks (ESs), or restraint (control). Potentiation of analgesia (tail-flick [TF] test and hotplate test) was observed only in rats given IS 24 or 48 hr earlier, in agreement with previously reported learned-helplessness effects. Finally, no change in tail temperature or motor function was found that could be inaccurately interpreted as analgesia. The relevance of these findings to stressor-induced enhancement of morphine analgesia and potential substrates of IS effects are discussed.

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