Estrous cycle modulation of nociceptive behaviors elicited by electrical stimulation and formalin.
The impact of circulating ovarian hormones on nociceptive behaviors elicited by phasic and tonic stimuli was evaluated in rats using two behavioral tests: an operant escape task and the formalin test. The operant escape task was structured to separately evaluate hindlimb flexion reflexes, the latency of escape, and the amplitude of peak vocalization to a series of phasic electrocutaneous stimuli (0.05-0.8 mA), whereas the formalin test evaluated nociceptive behaviors elicited by tonic stimulation following a subcutaneous injection of dilute formalin (1%). Hindlimb reflex amplitude, escape latency, and peak vocalization varied across the estrous cycle, such that rats were most sensitive to electrical stimuli during proestrus (reflex and escape latency) and diestrus (vocalization). Furthermore, morphine-induced (3 mg/kg sc) attenuation of hindlimb reflex amplitude was sensitive to estrous cycling. During proestrus, morphine produced less attenuation of hindlimb reflex amplitude than during nonproestrus phases. However, estrous cycling did not alter nociceptive behaviors elicited by 1% formalin. These data support the notion that circulating ovarian hormones may differentially modulate behaviors associated with phasic and tonic pain.
Vincler, M; Maixner, W; Vierck, CJ; Light, AR
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