Stress response dysregulation and stress-induced analgesia in nicotine dependent men and women

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Abstract

Alterations in the stress response and endogenous pain regulation mechanisms may contribute directly and indirectly to maintenance of nicotine dependence and relapse. We examined the extent to which nicotine dependence alters endogenous pain regulatory systems, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, cardiovascular activity, and stress-induced analgesia. Smokers and nonsmokers attended a laboratory session that included assessment of hormonal and cardiovascular responses to stress. Smokers smoked at their regular rate prior to the session. The hand cold pressor and heat thermal pain tests were completed twice, once after acute stress (public speaking and math tasks) and the other after rest. While smokers and nonsmokers exhibited significant hormonal and cardiovascular responses to stress, smokers exhibited blunted stress responses relative to nonsmokers. They also exhibited diminished stress-induced analgesia. Results demonstrate altered stress response and diminished stress-induced analgesia among chronic smokers, and suggest that these dysregulated physiological responding may contribute to altered endogenous pain regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume93
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013

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Nicotine
Analgesia
Pain
Tobacco Use Disorder
Hot Temperature
Hand
Maintenance
Recurrence

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular
  • Cortisol
  • Pain
  • Stress-induced analgesia
  • Tobacco dependence

Cite this

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abstract = "Alterations in the stress response and endogenous pain regulation mechanisms may contribute directly and indirectly to maintenance of nicotine dependence and relapse. We examined the extent to which nicotine dependence alters endogenous pain regulatory systems, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, cardiovascular activity, and stress-induced analgesia. Smokers and nonsmokers attended a laboratory session that included assessment of hormonal and cardiovascular responses to stress. Smokers smoked at their regular rate prior to the session. The hand cold pressor and heat thermal pain tests were completed twice, once after acute stress (public speaking and math tasks) and the other after rest. While smokers and nonsmokers exhibited significant hormonal and cardiovascular responses to stress, smokers exhibited blunted stress responses relative to nonsmokers. They also exhibited diminished stress-induced analgesia. Results demonstrate altered stress response and diminished stress-induced analgesia among chronic smokers, and suggest that these dysregulated physiological responding may contribute to altered endogenous pain regulation.",
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