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, 66 (4), 1091-120

Stress-induced Analgesia: Adaptive Pain Suppression


Stress-induced Analgesia: Adaptive Pain Suppression

Z Amit et al. Physiol Rev.


In this paper we have examined the phenomenon of stress-induced analgesia. We have described the procedures used to measure analgesia and have suggested that the tests can be designed not only to indicate changes in pain threshold but also to allow for the determination of the capacity to execute adaptive behavior. Aside from enabling the analysis of responses, tests that induce reflexive as well as nonreflexive behavior may have the capacity to separate the more complex aspects of pain such as the possible presence of two components of pain, sensory/discriminative and motivational/affective. These components may be of fundamental importance for any attempt to understand the biological significance of SIA. Our examination of the neurotransmitter and neuropeptide systems has revealed that they are affected by the same manipulations that induce SIA. These amines and perhaps peptides play an integral role in learning, motivation, and performance. We conclude that the functional advantage of a reduction of pain during stressful situations is significant because it allows the animal to react in threatening and perhaps critical situations as if there were no pain. Once the pain system is inhibited, other systems modulate and mediate adaptive responses that expedite the survival of the animal.

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