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Review
, 88 (3), 184-202

Stress-induced Analgesia

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Review

Stress-induced Analgesia

Ryan K Butler et al. Prog Neurobiol.

Abstract

For over 30 years, scientists have been investigating the phenomenon of pain suppression upon exposure to unconditioned or conditioned stressful stimuli, commonly known as stress-induced analgesia. These studies have revealed that individual sensitivity to stress-induced analgesia can vary greatly and that this sensitivity is coupled to many different phenotypes including the degree of opioid sensitivity and startle response. Furthermore, stress-induced analgesia is influenced by age, gender, and prior experience to stressful, painful, or other environmental stimuli. Stress-induced analgesia is mediated by activation of the descending inhibitory pain pathway. Pharmacological and neurochemical studies have demonstrated involvement of a large number of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. In particular, there are key roles for the endogenous opioid, monoamine, cannabinoid, gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate systems. The study of stress-induced analgesia has enhanced our understanding of the fundamental physiology of pain and stress and can be a useful approach for uncovering new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and stress-related disorders.

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