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Pain. 1986 Nov;27(2):247-60.

Nociception in pigeons is not impaired by capsaicin.


In order to examine the sensitivity of the nociceptive system of birds to capsaicin, the algesic potency of the drug was compared with that of veratridine and mustard oil by instillation into the eye of conscious pigeons and guinea-pigs. In guinea-pigs, 10(-6) g/ml capsaicin provoked severe protective reactions, but even high concentrations of 10(-2) g/ml were insufficient in pigeons. Veratridine and mustard oil induced similar reactions in both species. Close arterial injections of algesic substances revealed that the threshold dose of capsaicin for cardiovascular and nocifensive reactions was 10,000-fold higher in pigeons (200 micrograms) than in guinea-pigs (0.02 micrograms). All other algesic substances tested (bradykinin, 5-HT, veratridine and KCl) had similar thresholds in both species. Slow infusion of a total dose of 600 mg/kg capsaicin into the radial artery of pigeons did not alter the sensitivity to any of the algesic substances tested, which demonstrates that even high concentrations of capsaicin have no desensitizing effect. The demonstrated insensitivity of pigeons to the algesic effect of capsaicin is discussed in the context of the inability of the drug to deplete substance P (SP) from afferent terminals in the spinal cord of the pigeon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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