Clonidine antinociceptive activity: effects of drugs influencing central monoaminergic and cholinergic mechanisms in the rat

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1976;292(2):119-26. doi: 10.1007/BF00498581.


Clonidine is able to increase the threshold for vocalisation during stimulation and the threshold for vocalisation after withdrawal of stimulus (vocalisation afterdischarge). These effects of clonidine were investigated after treatment of rats with drugs influencing central monoaminergic and cholinergic mechanisms. Chlorpromazine, atropine and p-chlorophenylalanine increased the activity of clonidine at both thresholds while phenoxybenzamine and reserpine pretreatment increased the activity at the thresholds for vocalisation only. Yohimbine decreased clonidine activity at both thresholds while 5-HTP and alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine decreased the effects at the threshold for vocalisation afterdischarge. Naloxone did not change the activity of clonidine at either pain response studied. It is concluded from the present findings that influence from several neuronal systems modulate the antinociceptive action of clonidine. The inhibition of the medullary nociceptive response after clonidine might be connected to a decreased activity of noradrenergic neurons. Endogenous noradrenaline seems to be of minor importance in mediating this effect. It is moreover shown that decreased cholinergic receptor activity enhances clonidine antinociceptive action on both medullary and diencephalic-rhinencephalic pain responses. The possible involvement of serotonin these functional responses after clonidine is also discussed.

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / pharmacology
  • Analgesia*
  • Animals
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Bis(4-Methyl-1-Homopiperazinylthiocarbonyl)disulfide / pharmacology
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects
  • Chlorpromazine / pharmacology
  • Clonidine / pharmacology*
  • Electroshock
  • Fenclonine / analogs & derivatives
  • Fenclonine / pharmacology
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Methyltyrosines / pharmacology
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Phenoxybenzamine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / drug effects
  • Reserpine / pharmacology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Vocalization, Animal
  • Yohimbine / pharmacology


  • Methyltyrosines
  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Cholinergic
  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Bis(4-Methyl-1-Homopiperazinylthiocarbonyl)disulfide
  • Yohimbine
  • Naloxone
  • Atropine
  • Reserpine
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan
  • Clonidine
  • Fenclonine
  • Chlorpromazine