The Effects of Stages of the Estrous Cycle on Pain Thresholds in Female White Rats

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The effects of stages in the estrous cycle on electrical pain thresholds were studied in white rats in conditions of chronic measurement. On recording day 3, females in the diestrus and estrus stages showed sharp increases in shudder and paw-shuffling thresholds. Females in proestrus and metestrus showed no change in thresholds as compared with those in the first days of recording. Starting from day 7, there were progressive decreases in electrical pain thresholds regardless of the stage of the estrous cycle. Data for all animals showed that regular measurement of pain thresholds induces a smooth two-fold increase in body resistance from day 1 to day 7. This was followed by a sharp drop on day 8, with parallel decreases in body resistance and electrical pain thresholds. Thus, chronic measurement of electrical pain thresholds and body resistance changed in a complex fashion, and threshold values depended on the stage of the estrous cycle.

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