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Papers: 25 May 2024 - 31 May 2024

2024 May 18





Age- and Sex-Dependent Effects of Moderate Exercise on Endogenous Pain Inhibition in Rats.


do Espírito-Santo RF, Margerison SM, Zhang Y, Pak J, Ro JY, Da Silva JT


Diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNICs), or the pain inhibits pain phenomenon, refer to reduced pain-like behaviors that are displayed following a noxious conditioning stimulus located far from the test stimulus and have also been referred to as “descending control of nociception” when measured in awake-behaving animals. In this study, we sought to determine the impact of moderate long-term exercise on the DCN response and determine if this effect differed across age and sex. After a six-week exercise program consisting of 30 min of moderate treadmill running 5 days a week, the animals’ forepaws were injected with capsaicin, and DCN responses were assessed using thermal withdrawal latencies of the hind paw. Young, exercised male and female rats displayed prolonged DCN responses relative to their sedentary counterparts, with the young exercised male group displaying longer-lasting DCN facilitation than the young exercised females. Exercise did not impact DCN responses in either male or female aged rats. Additionally, the serum testosterone levels did not change following exercise in any group. Importantly, the levels of corticosterone did not change following the exercise program, indicating that changes in the DCN response are not due to stress-induced analgesia. Our findings suggest that moderate exercise can facilitate the DCN response in young animals, even when this exercise does not change the levels of serum testosterone.