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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Jun 2023 - 30 Jun 2023

Basic Science, Psychology, Resource

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Jun 28

Sci Rep




An ethogram analysis of cutaneous thermal pain sensitivity and oxycodone reward-related behaviors in rats.


Brice-Tutt AC, Montgomery DS, Kramer CM, Novotny PM, Malphurs WL, Sharma A, Caudle RM, Bruijnzeel AW, Setlow B, Neubert JK, Murphy NP


Inter-relationships between pain sensitivity, drug reward, and drug misuse are of considerable interest given that many analgesics exhibit misuse potential. Here we studied rats as they underwent a series of pain- and reward-related tests: cutaneous thermal reflex pain, induction and extinction of conditioned place preference to oxycodone (0.56 mg/kg), and finally the impact of neuropathic pain on reflex pain and reinstatement of conditioned place preference. Oxycodone induced a significant conditioned place preference that extinguished throughout repeated testing. Correlations identified of particular interest included an association between reflex pain and oxycodone-induced behavioral sensitization, and between rates of behavioral sensitization and extinction of conditioned place preference. Multidimensional scaling analysis followed by k-clustering identified three clusters: (1) reflex pain, rate of behavioral sensitization and rate of extinction of conditioned place preference (2) basal locomotion, locomotor habituation, acute oxycodone-stimulated locomotion and rate of change in reflex pain during repeated testing, and (3) magnitude of conditioned place preference. Nerve constriction injury markedly enhanced reflex pain but did not reinstate conditioned place preference. These results suggest that high rates of behavioral sensitization predicts faster rates of extinction of oxycodone seeking/reward, and suggest that cutaneous thermal reflex pain may be predictive of both.