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Keywords:

  • Pain;
  • neuropathic;
  • inflammatory;
  • cannabinoid;
  • fatty-acid amide hydrolase
  • While cannabinoid receptor agonists have analgesic activity in chronic pain states, they produce a spectrum of central CB1 receptor-mediated motor and psychotropic side effects. The actions of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide are terminated by removal from the extracellular space, then subsequent enzymatic degradation by fatty-acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). In the present study, we compared the effect of a selective FAAH inhibitor, URB597, to that of a pan-cannabinoid receptor agonist HU210 in rat models of chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

  • Systemic administration of URB597 (0.3 mg kg−1) and HU210 (0.03 mg kg−1) both reduced the mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in the CFA model of inflammatory pain. In contrast, HU210, but not URB597, reduced mechanical allodynia in the partial sciatic nerve-ligation model of neuropathic pain. HU210, but not URB597, produced a reduction in motor performance in unoperated rats.

  • The effects of URB597 in the CFA model were dose dependent and were reduced by coadministration with the cannabinoid CB1 antagonist AM251 (1 mg kg−1), or the CB2 and SR144528 (1 mg kg−1). Coadministration with AM251 plus SR144528 completely reversed the effects of URB597.

  • These findings suggest that the FAAH inhibitor URB597 produces cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor-mediated analgesia in inflammatory pain states, without causing the undesirable side effects associated with cannabinoid receptor activation.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2006) 147, 281–288. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706510