Selective cannabinoid CB1 receptor activation inhibits spinal nociceptive transmission in vivo.J Neurophysiol. 2001 Dec; 86(6):3061-4.JN
Cannabinoid1 (CB1) receptors are located at CNS sites, including the spinal cord, involved in somatosensory processing. Analgesia is one of the tetrad of behaviors associated with cannabinoid agonists. Here, effects of a potent cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonist arachidonyl-2-chloroethylamide (ACEA) on evoked responses of dorsal horn neurons in anesthetized rats were investigated. Extracellular recordings of convergent dorsal horn neurons were made in halothane anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 16). Effects of spinal application of ACEA on electrically evoked responses of dorsal horn neurons were studied. Mean maximal effects of 0.5, 5, 50, and 500 ng/50 microl ACEA on the C-fiber-mediated postdischarge response were 79 +/- 6, 62 +/- 10, and 54 +/- 7% (P < 0.01), 45 +/- 6% (P < 0.01), of control, respectively. ACEA (500 ng/50 microl) also reduced the C-fiber-evoked nonpotentiated responses of neurons (59 +/- 9% of control, P < 0.05) and Adelta-fiber-evoked responses of neurons (68 +/- 10% of control, P < 0.01). Minor effects of ACEA on Abeta-fiber-evoked responses were observed. Spinal pre-administration of the selective CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A (0.01 microg/50 microl) significantly reduced effects of ACEA (500 ng/50 microl) on postdischarge responses of dorsal horn neurons. This study demonstrates that spinal CB1 receptors modulate the transmission of C- and Adelta-fiber-evoked responses in anesthetized rats; this may reflect pre- and/or postsynaptic effects of cannabinoids on nociceptive transmission. CB1 receptors inhibit synaptic release of glutamate in rat dorsolateral striatum, a similar mechanism of action may underlie the effects of ACEA on noxious evoked responses of spinal neurons reported here.