Physostigmine's Impact on Brief Shock-Induced Hypoalgesia Parallels Its Effect on Memory Academic Article uri icon


  • Past research indicates that the anticholinergic drug scopolamine disrupts memory and environmentally induced hypoalgesia in rats. The present study examined the impact of the centrally active cholinesterase inhibitor physostigmine, which enhances memory and central cholinergic activity, on brief shock-induced hypoalgesia on the tail-flick test using Sprague-Dawley rats. It is reported that physostigmine (0.1 mg/kg) potentiates the magnitude of this hypoalgesia. Contrary to past research, our results showed that omission of baseline testing did not eliminate hypoalgesia or its potentiation by physostigmine. Similar to its effects on memory, physostigmine (0.04, 0.1, and 0.25 mg/kg) has a nonmonotonic impact on brief shock-induced hypoalgesia; low doses potentiated hypoalgesia (0.1 mg/kg), whereas a high dose (0.25 mg/kg) disrupted it. These results provide further evidence that the cholinergic system indirectly affects pain reactivity by modulating the memory of the aversive event.

author list (cited authors)

  • Meagher, M. W., Illich, P. A., & Salinas, J. A.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Meagher, MW||Illich, PA||Salinas, JA

publication date

  • November 1998