Endocannabinoids Have Opposing Effects on Behavioral Responses to Nociceptive and Non-nociceptive Stimuli /631/378 /631/378/2620/410 article

Torrie Summers, Brandon Hanten, Warren Peterson, Brian Burrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The endocannabinoid system is thought to modulate nociceptive signaling making it a potential therapeutic target for treating pain. However, there is evidence that endocannabinoids have both pro- and anti-nociceptive effects. In previous studies using Hirudo verbana (the medicinal leech), endocannabinoids were found to depress nociceptive synapses, but enhance non-nociceptive synapses. Here we examined whether endocannabinoids have similar bidirectional effects on behavioral responses to nociceptive vs. non-nociceptive stimuli in vivo. Hirudo were injected with either the 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) or anandamide and tested for changes in response to nociceptive and non-nociceptive stimuli. Both endocannabinoids enhanced responses to non-nociceptive stimuli and reduced responses to nociceptive stimuli. These pro- and anti-nociceptive effects were blocked by co-injection of a TRPV channel inhibitor, which are thought to function as an endocannabinoid receptor. In experiments to determine the effects of endocannabinoids on animals that had undergone injury-induced sensitization, 2-AG and anandamide diminished sensitization to nociceptive stimuli although the effects of 2-AG were longer lasting. Sensitized responses to non-nociceptive stimuli were unaffected 2-AG or anandamide. These results provide evidence that endocannabinoids can have opposing effects on nociceptive vs. non-nociceptive pathways and suggest that cannabinoid-based therapies may be more appropriate for treating pain disorders in which hyperalgesia and not allodynia is the primary symptom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5793
JournalScientific reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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