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Open Access Testing and Comparison of Non-Opioid Analgesics in Amphibians

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Because of the lack of information about effective analgesics in non-mammalian vertebrates, the potency of various non-opioid agents were tested in a model of analgesia by using Northern grass frogs (Rana pipiens). This alternative model has been used widely for investigating opioid analgesic action. Potential non-opioid analgesics tested included antipsychotic, benzodiazepine, barbiturate, antihistamine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), and partial opioid agents. Northern grass frogs were acclimated to lab conditions in individual cages. Drugs were administered systemically through the dorsal lymph sac, and analgesic effects were estimated by using the acetic acid test (AAT). The AAT is done by placing logarithmic dilutions of acid dropwise on the dorsum of the animal's thigh until a wiping response is obtained. At various doses, chlorpromazine and haloperidol (antipsychotics), chlordiazepoxide (a benzodiazepine), buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist), and diphenhydramine (a histamine antagonist) produced moderate to strong analgesic effects. Indomethacin and ketorolac (NSAIDs), butorphanol (a partial opioid agonist), and pentobarbital (a barbiturate) produced weaker but noticeable analgesic effects. Our results are the first to document the effectiveness of a wide array of pharmacologically active agents in a novel amphibian model for analgesia. These findings provide needed data regarding the use of alternative, non-opioid agents for the treatment of pain in amphibians and other poikilothermic species.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Oklahoma State University–College of Osteopathic Medicine, 1111 West 17th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74107-1898 2: Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Oklahoma State University—College of Osteopathic Medicine, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74107

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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