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Physiol Behav. 1991 Mar;49(3):569-73.

The calls of murine predators activate endogenous analgesia mechanisms in laboratory mice.

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Department of Psychology, University of Leeds, UK.


In view of the suggested role of endogenous analgesia mechanisms as an antipredator defense mechanism, the effects on nociception of exposure to the calls of various murine predatory and nonpredatory species were assessed. Data revealed that the calls of the Tawny Owl, Barn Owl and Common Gull all induced significant analgesia following exposure to 2 min of birdsong. Time course analysis revealed the analgesia induced by the Tawny Owl call to have a duration in excess of 40 min while the Barn Owl and Gull call-induced analgesias were much shorter lasting (approximately 10 min or less). Five mg/kg naloxone was found to attenuate the analgesia induced by the Tawny and Barn Owls but not the Common Gull. Together, these data suggest that brief exposure to the calls of night-hunting, aerial predators activate endogenous opioid-mediated analgesia mechanisms in mice.

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