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Behav Neurosci. 2000 Feb;114(1):125-36.

Mu opioid receptors in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray mediate stress-induced analgesia but not immobility in rat pups.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York 10032, USA.


Rat pups become immobile and analgesic when exposed to an adult male rat. The aim of this study was to determine whether these reactions are under the control of endogenous opioids and to determine the role of the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG), which mediates stress-induced immobility and analgesia in adult animals. In Experiment 1, 14-day-old rats were injected systemically with the general opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (1 mg/kg), which blocked male-induced analgesia to thermal stimulation but did not affect immobility. In Experiment 2, the selective mu opioid receptor antagonist D-Phe-Cys-Tyr-D-Trp-Orn-Thr-Pen-Thr-NH2 (CTOP; 50 or 100 ng/200 nl) was microinjected into the ventrolateral and lateral PAG. CTOP suppressed male-induced analgesia when injected into the ventrolateral PAG. Male-induced immobility was not affected by CTOP. Male proximity therefore seems to induce analgesia in rat pups by releasing endogenous opioids that bind to mu opioid receptors in the ventrolateral PAG.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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