The analgesic effect of electrical stimulation of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) was studied. Additionally, the involvement of vasopressin and opioid peptides in this process was examined by comparing vasopressin-deficient (Brattleboro) and Long-Evans rats and by administering the opiate antagonist naloxone. Rats were chronically implanted with a stimulating electrode in the parvocellular (PVN-Pc) and magnocellular (PVN-Mg) divisions of the PVN. At least 10 days after surgery, the analgesic effects of PVN stimulation were examined in lightly anesthetized rats, using the tail-flick method, and in unanesthetized rats, using the hot-plate test. PVN stimulation produced marked analgesia in both tests. Current threshold for analgesia was lower from PVN-Pc than from PVN-Mg. Threshold did not differ significantly between Brattleboro and Long-Evans rats and was not affected by naloxone administration. The results indicate that the PVN is part of the brain's pain inhibitory system, and show that the analgesia induced by PVN stimulation is not mediated by either vasopressin or opioid peptides.
- Paraventricular nucleus
- Stimulation-produced analgesia