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Papers of the Week

2021 May 25

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res

Monoacylglycerol Lipase Inhibition Using JZL184 Attenuates Paw Inflammation and Functional Deficits in a Mouse Model of Inflammatory Arthritis.


Nass SR, Steele FF, Ware TB, Libby AH, Hsu K-L, Kinsey SG
Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2021 May 25.
PMID: 34042520.


Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience joint swelling and cartilage destruction resulting in chronic pain, functional disability, and compromised joint function. Current RA treatments, including glucocorticoid receptor agonists, produce adverse side effects and lack prolonged treatment efficacy. Cannabinoids (i.e., cannabis-like signaling molecules) exert anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects with limited side effects compared to traditional immunosuppressants, making them excellent targets for the development of new arthritic therapeutics. Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) inhibition reduces inflammation in mouse models of acute inflammation, through cannabinoid receptor dependent and independent pathways. The current study investigated the efficacy of inhibiting synthetic and catabolic enzymes that regulate the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in blocking paw inflammation, pain-related behaviors, and functional loss caused by collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Male DB1A mice subjected to CIA were administered the glucocorticoid agonist dexamethasone (DEX), MAGL inhibitor JZL184 (8 or 40 mg/kg, s.c.), alone or in combination, or diacylglycerol lipase β (DAGLβ) inhibitor KT109 (40 mg/kg, s.c.). CIA-induced deficits were assayed by arthritic clinical scoring, paw thickness measurements, and behavioral tests of pain and paw function. DEX or dual administration with JZL184 reduced paw thickness and clinical scores, and JZL184 dose-dependently attenuated grip strength and balance beam deficits caused by CIA. Traditional measures of pain-induced behaviors (hyperalgesia and allodynia) were inconsistent. The antiarthritic effects of JZL184 (40 mg/kg) were largely blocked by coadministration of the CB antagonist SR144528, and the DAGLβ inhibitor KT109 had no effect on CIA, indicating that these effects likely occurred through CB activation. MAGL inhibition reduced paw inflammation and pain-depressed behavioral signs of arthritis, likely through an endocannabinoid mechanism requiring CB. These data support the development of MAGL as a target for therapeutic treatment of inflammatory arthritis.