Systemic administration of naloxone produces analgesia in BALB/c mice in the formalin pain test

Neurosci Lett. 1988 Jan 11;84(1):103-7. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(88)90345-x.


Systemic administration of naloxone usually produces either hyperalgesia or no change in nociception depending on the animal species used and/or the pain test employed. This study, however, demonstrates that naloxone produces a dose-dependent analgesia in the formalin pain test using an inbred strain of albino mouse. Female BALB/c, C57BL/6 and CD1 mice were injected subcutaneously with naloxone HCl in saline (0.1 10.0 mg/kg) or saline alone, and tested for analgesia using the formalin test. Naloxone produced a statistically significant dose-dependent analgesia in the BALB/c mice, with an ED50 of 0.24 mg/kg and almost total analgesia at doses of 1 mg/kg or greater. No changes in pain behaviour were observed in the C57BL/6 or CD1 strains of mice. We believe this to be the first report of analgesia following administration of doses of naloxone normally used for opioid antagonism. To determine if this effect was specific to the formalin test, the 3 strains of mice were injected subcutaneously with naloxone HCl and tested in the tail-flick test. Naloxone had no analgesic action in this test in any of the strains.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Formaldehyde*
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / physiology*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*


  • Formaldehyde
  • Naloxone