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Pain. 1991 Nov;47(2):211-20.

Differentiating analgesic and non-analgesic drug activities on rat hot plate: effect of behavioral endpoint.

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Research and Development Department, Miami Valley Laboratories, Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH 45239.


The contribution of behavioral endpoint to results obtained in the 55 degrees C rat hot plate procedure was assessed. Specifically, the use of a hind paw lick-only endpoint was compared to that of a hind paw lick-or-jump endpoint. Effects of prototypical analgesic and non-analgesic compounds on response latency increases were determined under each condition. Whereas the effects of morphine, oxycodone and codeine were similar under each condition, effects of a number of non-analgesic agents differed markedly depending upon the endpoint used. Clozapine, chlorpromazine, thioridazine, atropine, scopolamine, benactyzine, yohimbine, idazoxan and cyproheptadine produced dose-dependent increases in response latency under the hind paw lick-only condition but did not increase latencies when the hind paw lick-or-jump endpoint was used. Haloperidol, sulpiride, benztropine, methyl atropine, phentolamine, prazosin, methiothepin, methysergide, diphenhydramine, pargyline and diazepam failed to increase response latencies under the hind paw lick-only condition. Moreover, whereas diazepam, chlorpromazine, pentobarbital, dantrolene and ethanol produced dose-dependent increases in the height required for successful aerial righting, increases in hind paw lick-or-jump latencies occurred only following near-anesthetic doses of pentobarbital and ethanol. These data indicate that the hind paw lick endpoint is susceptible to perturbation by extraneous pharmacologic activities. Drugs exerting muscarinic cholinergic and alpha 2-adrenergic antagonist effects are particularly able to disrupt this behavior. Disruption is not associated specifically with any other pharmacologic action, although other activities may interfere with the response. In contrast, the hind paw lick-or-jump endpoint fails to detect skeletal muscle relaxant activity and only detects gross motor impairment when near-anesthetic doses of drugs are used. The present data suggest that detection of non-analgesic drug activities by rat hot plate can be minimized by use of a hind paw lick-or-jump endpoint.

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