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, 32 (3), 289-307

Immobilization and Restraint Effects on Pain Reactions in Animals


Immobilization and Restraint Effects on Pain Reactions in Animals

C A Porro et al. Pain.


Acute physical restraint represents a potent stressor in several animal species and is accompanied by a complex pattern of hormonal responses and functional changes in the central nervous system. Repeated immobilization leads to partial blunting of the behavioral and hormonal responses, with transient modifications of neurotransmitter systems in the brain. Pain reactions, as investigated by different kinds of nociceptive tests, are usually attenuated both during and immediately following acute immobilization and the analgesic effect of opiate compounds potentiated; these behavioral alterations may be attributed at least in part to activation of an endogenous opioid system. In some species, restraint may induce a reflex immobility (animal hypnosis or tonic immobility) which is also characterized by suppression of pain reactions in rabbits, probably subserved by different mechanisms. Analysis of available data suggests that pain testing in unanesthetized, restrained animals may involve alterations of the animal's reactivity to noxious stimuli.

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