The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 18 No. 5 • September 2015


PAIN AND THE CHOLINERGIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

The amazing array of subjects covered in the 1979 book referred to above includes very early data on the effect of the cholinergic system on pain. In the same section of the book in which the discussion of sexual behavior is contained, there is this fascinating material on pain and cholinergic agonists: “For almost 40 years now [the book was published in 1979] it has been apparent that cholinergic agonists (particularly muscarinic agonists) and anti-ChEs [anticholinesterases] exert analgesic actions; these compounds, initially shown to potentiate the analgesic actions of morphine and codeine, also exert antinociceptive [pain suppressive] actions of their own ...” Choline, however, was reported to attenuate morphine analgesia in the rat. “Since cholinergic agonists and anti-ChEs markedly increase serotonin levels, this effect could underlie the cholinergic analgesia.” In fact, a 2012 paper (Byung-Sang Lee, 2012) supports the link between increased serotonin signaling and pain relief.

Reference

  • Lee, Jun, Kim, Park. Interaction of morphine and selective serotonin receptor inhibitors in rats experiencing inflammatory pain. J Korean Med Sci. 27:430-6 (2012).

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