Potentiation of foot shock analgesia by thyrotropin releasing hormone

Pamela D. Butler, Richard J. Bodnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) interacts with both opioid and non-opioid systems in mediating hypothermic, hypoactive, cataleptic, respiratory and analgesic effects. While TRH neither antagonizes opioid analgesia nor alters pain thresholds itself, it blocks neurotensin analgesia. Different forms of pain-inhibition in rats can be activated by selectively altering the parameters of shock: while analgesia induced by 20 inescapable tail-shocks is not reversed by naltrexone, exposure to 60 or 80 shocks does elicit naltrexone-reversible analgesia. The first experiment examined whether intracerebroventricular administration of TRH (0, 10, or 50 μg) would alter the elevations in tail-flick latencies in rats induced by 20 or 80 foot shocks and found that TRH significantly lengthened the duration and magnitude of analgesia induced by 20 and 80 foot shocks in a dose-dependent manner. The second experiment extended these findings to the writhing test, a visceral pain test. While the number and duration of writhes of vehicle-treated rats exposed to 80 foot shocks failed to differ from baseline values, TRH (50 μg)-treated rats exposed to 80 foot shocks displayed significant decreases in the number and duration of writhes. The third experiment indicated that the differential effects of naltrexone upon analgesia induced by 20 or 80 tail shocks were not apparent when foot shocks were employed, precluding a definitive statement that TRH may be involved in the modulation of both opioid and non-opioid forms of analgesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-639
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • Analgesia
  • Foot shock
  • Pain
  • Rats
  • TRH


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