Anti-Nociceptive Effects of Oxytocin Receptor Modulation in Healthy Volunteers - a Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study.

Biurrun Manresa, José A; Schliessbach, Jürg; Vuilleumier, Pascal H; Müller, Monika; Musshoff, Frank; Stamer, Ulrike; Stüber, Frank; Arendt-Nielsen, Lars; Curatolo, Michele (2021). Anti-Nociceptive Effects of Oxytocin Receptor Modulation in Healthy Volunteers - a Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study. (In Press). European journal of pain Wiley 10.1002/ejp.1781

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There is increasing evidence for oxytocin as a neurotransmitter in spinal nociceptive processes. Hypothalamic oxytocinergic neurons project to the spinal dorsal horn, where they activate GABA-ergic inhibitory interneurons. The present study tested whether the long-acting oxytocin-analogue carbetocin has anti-nociceptive effects in multi-modal experimental pain in humans.


Twenty-five male volunteers received carbetocin 100 mcg and placebo (0.9% NaCl) on two different sessions in a randomized, double-blinded, cross-over design. Multi-modal quantitative sensory testing (QST) including a model of capsaicin-induced hyperalgesia and allodynia were performed at baseline and at 10, 60 and 120 minutes after drug administration. QST data were analyzed using mixed linear and logistic regression models. Carbetocin plasma concentrations and oxytocin receptor genotypes were quantified and assessed in an exploratory fashion.


An anti-nociceptive effect of carbetocin was observed on intramuscular electrical temporal summation (estimated difference: 1.26 mA, 95%-CI 1.01 to 1.56 mA, p = 0.04) and single-stimulus electrical pain thresholds (estimated difference: 1.21 mA, 95%-CI 1.0 to 1.47 mA, p = 0.05). Furthermore, the area of capsaicin-induced allodynia was reduced after carbetocin compared to placebo (estimated difference: -6.5 cm2 , 95%-CI -9.8 to -3.2 cm2 , p < 0.001).


This study provides evidence of an anti-nociceptive effect of carbetocin on experimental pain in humans.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services

UniBE Contributor:

Schliessbach, Jürg; Vuilleumier, Pascal Henri; Müller, Monika; Stamer, Ulrike and Stüber, Frank


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

07 Jun 2021 16:37

Last Modified:

07 Jun 2021 16:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Oxytocin / analogs & derivates hyperalgesia interneurons spinal cord dorsal horn




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