This study investigated the effect of bergamot essential oil (BEO) containing linalool and linalyl acetate as major volatile components in the capsaicin test. The intraplantar injection of capsaicin (1.6 μg) produced a short-lived licking/biting response toward the injected paw. The nociceptive behavioral response evoked by capsaicin was inhibited dose-dependently by intraplantar injection of BEO. Both linalool and linalyl acetate, injected into the hindpaw, showed a significant reduction of nociceptive response, which was much more potent than BEO. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) and intraplantar pretreatment with naloxone hydrochloride, an opioid receptor antagonist, significantly reversed BEO- and linalool-induced antinociception. Pretreatment with naloxone methiodide, a peripherally acting μ-opioid receptor preferring antagonist, resulted in a significant antagonizing effect on antinociception induced by BEO and linalool. Antinociception induced by i.p. or intrathecal morphine was enhanced by the combined injection of BEO or linalool. The enhanced effect of combination of BEO or linalool with morphine was antagonized by pretreatment with naloxone hydrochloride. Our results provide evidence for the involvement of peripheral opioids, in the antinociception induced by BEO and linalool. Combined administration of BEO or linalool acting at the peripheral site, and morphine may be a promising approach in the treatment of clinical pain.
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