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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Aug 2023 - 1 Sep 2023

Basic Science, Psychology

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Acute Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Aug 29

Neurochem Res


Differential Roles of the D1- and D2-Like Dopamine Receptors Within the Ventral Tegmental Area in Modulating the Antinociception Induced by Forced Swim Stress in the Rat.


Saghafi M, Danesh E, Askari R, Mousavi Z, Haghparast A


Several preclinical and clinical studies indicate that exposure to acute stress may decrease pain perception and increases pain tolerance. This phenomenon is called stress-induced analgesia (SIA). A variety of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, is involved in the SIA. Dopaminergic neurons in the mesolimbic circuits, originating from the ventral tegmental area (VTA), play a crucial role in various motivational, rewarding, and pain events. The present study aimed to investigate the modulatory role of VTA dopaminergic receptors in the antinociceptive responses evoked by forced swim stress (FSS) in a model of acute pain. One hundred-five adult male albino Wistar rats were subjected to stereotaxic surgery for implanting a unilateral cannula into the VTA. After one week of recovery, separate groups of animals were given different doses of SCH23390 and Sulpiride (0.25, 1, and 4 µg/0.3 µl) as D1- and D2-like receptor antagonists into the VTA, respectively. Then, the animals were exposed to FSS for a 6-min period, and the pain threshold was measured using the tail-flick test over a 60-min time set intervals. Results indicated that exposure to FSS produces a prominent antinociceptive response, diminishing by blocking both dopamine receptors in the VTA. Nonetheless, the effect of a D1-like dopamine receptor antagonist on FSS-induced analgesia was more prominent than that of a D2-like dopamine receptor antagonist. The results demonstrated that VTA dopaminergic receptors contribute to the pain process in stressful situations, and it might be provided a practical approach to designing new therapeutic agents for pain management.