Alterations in endocannabinoid tone following chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: effects of endocannabinoid deactivation inhibitors targeting fatty-acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase in comparison to reference analgesics following cisplatin treatment.Pharmacol Res. 2013 Jan; 67(1):94-109.PR
Cisplatin, a platinum-derived chemotherapeutic agent, produces mechanical and coldallodynia reminiscent of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy in humans. The endocannabinoid system represents a novel target for analgesic drug development. The endocannabinoid signaling system consists of endocannabinoids (e.g. anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)), cannabinoid receptors (e.g. CB(1) and CB(2)) and the enzymes controlling endocannabinoid synthesis and degradation. AEA is hydrolyzed by fatty-acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) whereas 2-AG is hydrolyzed primarily by monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL). We compared effects of brain permeant (URB597) and impermeant (URB937) inhibitors of FAAH with an irreversible inhibitor of MGL (JZL184) on cisplatin-evoked behavioral hypersensitivities. Endocannabinoid modulators were compared with agents used clinically to treat neuropathy (i.e. the opioid analgesic morphine, the anticonvulsant gabapentin and the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline). Cisplatin produced robust mechanical and cold allodynia but did not alter responsiveness to heat. After neuropathy was fully established, groups received acute intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of vehicle, amitriptyline (30 mg/kg), gabapentin (100 mg/kg), morphine (6 mg/kg), URB597 (0.1 or 1 mg/kg), URB937 (0.1 or 1 mg/kg) or JZL184 (1, 3 or 8 mg/kg). Pharmacological specificity was assessed by coadministering each endocannabinoid modulator with either a CB(1) (AM251 3 mg/kg), CB(2) (AM630 3 mg/kg), TRPV1 (AMG9810 3 mg/kg) or TRPA1 (HC030031 8 mg/kg) antagonist. Effects of cisplatin on endocannabinoid levels and transcription of receptors (CB(1), CB(2), TRPV1, TRPA1) and enzymes (FAAH, MGL) linked to the endocannabinoid system were also assessed. URB597, URB937, JZL184 and morphine reversed cisplatin-evoked mechanical and cold allodynia to pre-cisplatin levels. By contrast, gabapentin only partially reversed the observed allodynia while amitriptyline, administered acutely, was ineffective. CB(1) or CB(2) antagonists completely blocked the anti-allodynic effects of both FAAH (URB597, URB937) and MGL (JZL184) inhibitors to mechanical and cold stimulation. By contrast, the TRPV1 antagonist AMG9810 blocked the anti-allodynic efficacy of both FAAH inhibitors, but not the MGL inhibitor. By contrast, the TRPA1 antagonist HC30031 did not attenuate anti-allodynic efficacy of any endocannabinoid modulator. When the levels of endocannabinoids were examined, cisplatin increased both anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) levels in the lumbar spinal cord and decreased 2-AG levels (but not AEA) in dorsal hind paw skin. RT-PCR showed that mRNA for FAAH, but not other markers, was upregulated by cisplatin treatment in lumbar spinal cord. The present studies demonstrate that cisplatin alters endocannabinoid tone and that inhibition of endocannabinoid hydrolysis alleviates chemotherapy-induced mechanical and cold allodynia. The anti-allodynic effects of FAAH and MGL inhibitors are mediated by CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptors, whereas TRPV1, but not TRPA1, -dependent mechanisms contribute to the anti-allodynic efficacy of FAAH (but not MGL) inhibitors. Strikingly, endocannabinoid modulators potently suppressed cisplatin-evoked allodynia with a rapid onset and showed efficacy that equaled or exceeded that of major classes of anti-neuropathic pain medications used clinically. Thus, inhibition of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, via FAAH or MGL inhibitors, represents an efficacious pharmacological approach for suppressing chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain.