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November 2022

Acta Physiol Scand. 1993 Oct; 149(2): 199-204.

The antinociceptive effect of non-noxious sensory stimulation is mediated partly through oxytocinergic mechanisms.

Uvnäs-Moberg K, Bruzelius G, Alster P, Lundeberg T.

Department of Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

The objective of the present study was to investigate whether oxytocinergic mechanisms may contribute to the antinociceptive effect of non-noxious, sensory stimulation. To test this hypothesis, oxytocin levels in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were measured in control rats as well as in rats exposed for 30 min to electro-acupuncture (2 Hz), thermal stimulation (40 degrees C) or vibration (100 Hz). All modes of stimulation induced significant elevations of oxytocin levels in plasma and/or in CSF, 30 or 90 min after the end of stimulation. Secondly, the antinociceptive effects of these treatments were investigated in the tail-flick test with and without prior administration of the oxytocin antagonist 1-deamino-2-D-Tyr-(OEt)-4-Thr-8-Orn-oxytocin (1 mg kg-1 i.p.). All three modes of stimulation caused a significant delay of the tail-flick latency to the same degree as that caused by injection of oxytocin 1 mg kg-1 i.p. (electro-acupuncture P < 0.01, thermal stimulation and vibration P < 0.05). In all cases, the delay was reversed by administration of the oxytocin antagonist (1 mg kg-1 i.p.). These findings suggest that analgesic effects induced by non-noxious sensory stimulation may, in part, be mediated through activation of oxytocinergic mechanisms.

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