Stress-induced analgesia in humans: endogenous opioids and naloxone-reversible depression of pain reflexes

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Science  08 May 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4495, pp. 689-691
DOI: 10.1126/science.6261330


The cumulative effects of a repetitive stress induced by anticipation of pain (noxious foot shock) were studied on the threshold of a nociceptive flexion reflex of the lower limb. The threshold of the nociceptive reflex progressively increased with the repetition of the stress. This effect was reversed by naloxone, which even produced hyperalgesia, since a rapid and significant decrease in this threshold, below the initial values, was noted. Tha data provide evidence for involvement of endogenous opioids in the phenomenon of stress-induced analgesia in normal man.