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Neuroscience. 1999;92(4):1171-5.

Cannabinoid receptors undergo axonal flow in sensory nerves.

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Section on Functional Neuroanatomy, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-4070, USA.


Cannabinoids modulate nociceptive processing through central and peripheral mechanisms. The present study was conducted to evaluate axonal flow of cannabinoid receptors from the dorsal root ganglion to the periphery and to identify the putative involvement of CB1 and/or CB2 receptor subtypes. The sciatic nerve was tightly ligated to dam the flow of cannabinoid receptors to the periphery. The densities of cannabinoid receptors proximal and distal to one or two tightly constrictive ligatures was evaluated using in vitro receptor binding and high-resolution emulsion autoradiography. In both models, [3H]CP55,940 binding accumulated proximal as opposed to distal to the ligature. These data indicate that axonal transport of cannabinoid receptors to the periphery was occluded by tight constriction of the sciatic nerve. In situ hybridization histochemistry revealed that dorsal root ganglia cells synthesize CB1 but not CB2 receptor messenger RNA. By contrast, CB2 messenger RNA was highly expressed in sections of rat spleen that were processed together with the dorsal root ganglia, as previously described. These data demonstrate that neuronal cannabinoid CB1 receptors are synthesized in cells of the dorsal root ganglia and inserted on terminals in the periphery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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