Naloxone and shock-elicited freezing in the rat

J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1979 Aug;93(4):736-44. doi: 10.1037/h0077609.


The freezing behavior of the rat that occurs following painful electric shock was found to increase when the animal was pretreated with the opiate antagonist naloxone. Freezing was a positive linear function of drug dose and shock intensity (Experiment 2). Naloxone pretreatment enhanced freezing only when the animal was given two or three shocks but did not affect freezing when the animal was given only one shock or not shocked at all (Experiments 3, 4, and 5). Naloxone must be present during shock, nor just during the observation period, in order to increase freezing (Experiment 6). These results suggest that when an animal is shocked, it releases endogenous analgesics (endorphins) that make a subsequent shock less aversive. Naloxone, by blocking the endorphin system, makes the shock more aversive than it would normally be.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electroshock
  • Endorphins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Endorphins / physiology
  • Female
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Rats


  • Endorphins
  • Naloxone