Targeting the endocannabinoid system has emerged as an effective strategy for the treatment of inflammatory and neurological diseases. Unlike the inhibition of the principal 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG) hydrolytic enzyme monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), which leads to 2-AG overload and cannabinoid receptor desensitization, selective inhibition of the minor 2-AG hydrolytic enzyme alpha, beta-hydrolase domain 6 (ABHD6) can provide therapeutic benefits without producing cannabimimetic side effects. We have shown that inhibition of ABHD6 significantly reduces neuroinflammation and exerts neuroprotection in animal models of traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis. However, the role of ABHD6 inhibition on neuropathic pain has not been explored.
Neuropathic pain was induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the mouse sciatic nerve and examined by Hargreaves and Von Frey tests. Activation of inflammatory cells and the production of cytokines and chemokines in the spinal cord dorsal horn, dorsal root ganglion (DRG), and sciatic nerve were assessed by qRT-PCR, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and immunohistochemistry. The levels of 2-AG and arachidonic acid (AA) in sciatic nerve were quantified by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).
Treatment with the selective ABHD6 inhibitor WWL70 significantly alleviated CCI-induced thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. Microglia activation, macrophage infiltration, and the production of nociceptive mediators were reduced in the ipsilateral lumbar spinal cord dorsal horn, DRG, and sciatic nerve of WWL70-treated animals. The diminished cytokine and chemokine production is likely due to the inhibitory effect of WWL70 on NF-κB phosphorylation. Surprisingly, the anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of WWL70 were not reversed by addition of the cannabinoid receptor antagonists. Treatment with WWL70 did not alter the levels of 2-AG, AA, and the phosphorylation of cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2), but significantly reduced the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and prostaglandin E synthase-2 (PGES2) in the injured sciatic nerve.
This study reveals a novel mechanism for the antinociceptive effect of the 2-AG catabolic enzyme ABHD6 inhibitor WWL70. Understanding the interaction between endocannabinoid and eicosanoid pathways might provide a new avenue for the treatment of inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
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- WWL70 protects against chronic constriction injury-induced neuropathic pain in mice by cannabinoid receptor-independent mechanisms
Aviva J. Symes
- BioMed Central