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Physiol Behav. 1997 Dec 31;63(1):75-80.

Alarm pheromone induces stress analgesia via an opioid system in the honeybee.

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Department of Biological Sciences, FCEyN, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Changes of the stinging response threshold of Apis mellifera scutellata were measured on foragers fixed on a holder and stimulated with an electric shock as a noxious stimulus. The threshold of responsiveness to the noxious stimulus increased when bees were previously stimulated with isopentyl acetate, which is a main component of the alarm pheromone of the sting chamber. This effect is antagonised by previous injection of naloxone-hydrochloride (Endo Laboratories Inc.). Results suggest that in the honeybee an endogenous opioid system activated by isopentyl acetate is responsible for modulation of perception for nociceptive stimuli. The resulting stress-induced analgesia in the defender bee would reduce its probability of withdrawal thus increasing its efficiency against enemies.

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