Occlusion of the abdominal aorta proximal to the renal arteries results in an increase in arterial blood pressure, inhibition of forepaw and hindpaw withdrawal to a noxious mechanical stimulus, and inhibition of the tail-flick reflex to noxious heat. Occlusion of the abdominal aorta distal to the renal arteries does not elevate arterial blood pressure and produces no antinociceptive effects. Occlusion of the vena cava lowers arterial blood pressure and produces no antinociception. The inhibitory effects of occlusion of the abdominal aorta depend upon activation of high pressure baroreceptors since bilateral sinoaortic denervation, but not bilateral vagotomy, eliminates the inhibition with respect to all behavioral measures. The inhibitory effects with respect to the tail-flick reflex also depend upon activation of a descending inhibitory system since reversible cold block of the spinal cord at the level of the second thoracic vertebra eliminates the antinociception. This antinociception is also eliminated following intrathecal administration of the noradrenergic receptor antagonist phentolamine, but not by intrathecal administration of either methysergide or naloxone. These data support the view that activation of high pressure baroreceptors by increases in arterial blood pressure produces antinociception via activation of a spinopetal noradrenergic system. © 1990.
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