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Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2009 Jun;379(6):627-36. doi: 10.1007/s00210-008-0386-4. Epub 2009 Jan 18.

Analgesic and antiinflammatory effects of cannabinoid receptor agonists in a rat model of neuropathic pain.

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  • 1Animal Physiology, Biology and Biotechnology, ND5/132, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44780, Bochum, Germany.


Cannabinoid receptor (CB) agonists are known to attenuate allodynia in a range of pain models, but their long-term effects and their mechanisms of action are controversial. The present study compares the antiallodynic effects of long-term treatment with a mixed CB1/CB2 (WIN55,212-2) and a selective CB2 (GW405833) cannabinoid receptor agonist and correlates these effects with their influences on spinal cord (SC) glial activation. The substances were applied daily in a rat neuropathic pain model. Tactile allodynia was assessed, and the development of gliosis was illustrated with immunohistochemical methods. Both substances reduced mechanical allodynia. Their analgesic effect was accompanied by a significant reduction in reactive gliosis and cathepsins (CAT) X and S expression. A daily injection of either substance for 8 days was sufficient to induce a sustained antiallodynic effect, which persisted up to 6 days after the last injection. The re-appearance of mechanical allodynia after this period was associated with a breakout of a strong gliotic response in the lumbar SC. Our results emphasize the therapeutic efficacy of cannabinoid receptor agonists and their inhibitory effects on the formation of gliosis.

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