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Pain. 2002 Jul;98(1-2):79-88.

Pronociceptive effects of spinal dynorphin promote cannabinoid-induced pain and antinociceptive tolerance.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.


Recent studies indicate that sustained opioid administration produces increased expression of spinal dynorphin, which promotes enhanced sensitivity to non-noxious and noxious stimuli. Such increased "pain" may manifest behaviorally as a decrease in spinal antinociceptive potency. Here, the possibility of similar mechanisms in the antinociception of spinal cannabinoids was explored. Response thresholds to non-noxious mechanical and noxious thermal stimuli were assessed. Antinociception was determined using the 52 degrees C tail-flick test. Mice received repeated WIN 55,212-2, its inactive enantiomer, WIN 55,212-3 or vehicle (, bid, 5 days). WIN 55,212-2, but not WIN 55,212-3 or vehicle, produced a time-related increased sensitivity to non-noxious and noxious stimuli. WIN 55,212-2, but not WIN 55,212-3 or vehicle, elicited a significant increase in lumbar spinal dynorphin content at treatment day 5. Increased sensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli produced by WIN 55,212-2 was reversed to baseline levels by MK-801 or dynorphin antiserum; control serum had no effect. WIN 55,212-2, but not WIN 55,212-3 or vehicle, produced dose-related antinociception and repeated administration resulted in antinociceptive tolerance. While MK-801 and dynorphin antiserum did not alter acute antinociception produced by WIN 55,212-2, these substances significantly blocked antinociceptive tolerance when given immediately prior to WIN 55,212-2 challenge on day 5. Daily MK-801 pretreatments, prior to WIN 55,212-2 injection, also produced a significant block of antinociceptive tolerance. These data suggest that like opioids, repeated spinal administration of a cannabinoid CB1 agonist elicits abnormal pain, which results in increased expression of spinal dynorphin. Manipulations that block cannabinoid-induced pain also block the behavioral manifestation of cannabinoid tolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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