Systemic injections of alpha-1 adrenergic agonists ...

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Title Systemic injections of alpha-1 adrenergic agonists produce antinociception in the formalin test
Author(s) R. Andrew R. Tasker, B. J. Connell, M. J. Yole
Journal Pain
Date 1992
Volume 49
Issue 3
Start page 383
End page 391
Abstract The role of alpha 1 receptors in antinociception was investigated in the formalin test, a well established test of tonic pain. The effect of systemic injections of selective alpha 1-adrenergic agonists (phenylephrine and methoxamine), a mixed alpha agonist selective for alpha 2 receptors (ST-91), and 2 adrenergic antagonists (prazosin and idazoxan) was measured in groups of Long-Evans rats. All agonists tested produced significant antinociception in this test. Dose-response curves for each agonist were statistically parallel and equally efficacious (100% antinociception). Prior injection of 0.15 mg/kg prazosin (an alpha 1 antagonist) completely antagonized the antinociception produced by either an ED50 or a maximally effective dose of each agonist tested. Idazoxan (0.5 mg/kg), an alpha 2 antagonist, was without effect on the antinociception produced by phenylephrine or methoxamine. ST-91 produced significant antinociception in the presence of idazoxan although the response was different from that obtained with ST-91 alone. The observed antinociception in the formalin test was not due to drug-induced changes in peripheral inflammation as measured using plethysmometry. Moreover, none of the drugs tested produced significant changes in coordinated motor behavior (accelerated rotarod test) at doses that produced significant analgesia (ED50). We conclude that alpha 1 receptors contribute significantly to adrenergic analgesia in the formalin test by an undefined action on sensory processing mechanisms.

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