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Hypoalgesia induced by antidepressants in mice: A case for opioids and serotonin

AuthorsFelipe, Carmen de; Ceballos, María L. de CSIC ORCID; Fuentes, J. A.
Issue Date1986
CitationEuropean Journal of Pharmacology 125: 193- 199 (1986)
AbstractThe tail flick assay was used to evaluate pain perception in mice treated acutely with either of the two classical antidepressant drugs (AD) imipramine or amitriptyline, or the atypical antidepressant iprindole. A sustained hypoalgesic effect, sensitive to the opiate antagonist naloxone, was detected for the AD used in this study. Administration of the aminopeptidase inhibitor bestatin or the enkephalinase blocker thiorphan made subeffective doses of AD hypoalgesic. This synergistic effect was reversed by naloxone. THe antinociceptive action of the AD wore off in mice rendered tolerant to morphine by subcutaneous implantation of a pellet of the opiate. Subchronic treatment with p-chlorophenylalanine did not alter the effect of AD on pain perception, but in animals whose serotonin (5-HT) receptors were blocked by methysergide AD did not produce any change in pain threshold. It was concluded on the basis of these findings that short-chain opioids and 5-HT appear to have a role in the hypoalgesic effect of either classical or atypical AD.
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