Blockade of endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes attenuates neuropathic pain.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009 Sep; 330(3):902-10.JP
Direct-acting cannabinoid receptor agonists are well known to reduce hyperalgesic responses and allodynia after nerve injury, although their psychoactive side effects have damped enthusiasm for their therapeutic development. Alternatively, inhibiting fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the principal enzymes responsible for the degradation of the respective endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachydonylglycerol (2-AG), reduce nociception in a variety of nociceptive assays, with no or minimal behavioral effects. In the present study we tested whether inhibition of these enzymes attenuates mechanical allodynia, and acetone-induced cold allodynia in mice subjected to chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve. Acute administration of the irreversible FAAH inhibitor, cyclohexylcarbamic acid 3'-carbamoylbiphenyl-3-yl ester (URB597), or the reversible FAAH inhibitor, 1-oxo-1-[5-(2-pyridyl)-2-yl]-7-phenylheptane (OL-135), decreased allodynia in both tests. This attenuation was completely blocked by pretreatment with either CB(1) or CB(2) receptor antagonists, but not by the TRPV1 receptor antagonist, capsazepine, or the opioid receptor antagonist, naltrexone. The novel MAGL inhibitor, 4-nitrophenyl 4-(dibenzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl(hydroxy)methyl)piperidine-1-carboxylate (JZL184) also attenuated mechanical and cold allodynia via a CB(1), but not a CB(2), receptor mechanism of action. Whereas URB597 did not elicit antiallodynic effects in FAAH(-/-) mice, the effects of JZL184 were FAAH-independent. Finally, URB597 increased brain and spinal cord AEA levels, whereas JZL184 increased 2-AG levels in these tissues, but no differences in either endo-cannabinoid were found between nerve-injured and control mice. These data indicate that inhibition of FAAH and MAGL reduces neuropathic pain through distinct receptor mechanisms of action and present viable targets for the development of analgesic therapeutics.