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Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Nov 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

2022 Nov 20

Pharmacol Res

Peripheral sensory neuron CB2 cannabinoid receptors are necessary for both CB2-mediated antinociceptive efficacy and sparing of morphine tolerance in a mouse model of anti-retroviral toxic neuropathy.


Painful peripheral neuropathy is a common neurological complication associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and anti-retroviral therapy. We characterized the impact of two CB2 cannabinoid agonists (AM1710 and LY2828360 – ligands differing in signaling bias and CNS penetration) on neuropathic nociception induced by the antiretroviral agent Zalcitabine (2'-3'-dideoxycitidine; ddC). We also used a conditional knockout approach to identify cell types mediating CB2 agonist-induced antinociceptive efficacy and sparing of morphine tolerance. AM1710 and LY2828360 alleviated ddC-induced neuropathic nociception in mice of both sexes. These benefits were absent in global CB2 knockout mice, which exhibited robust morphine antinociception. Like morphine, AM1710 blunted ddC-induced increases in proinflammatory cytokine (IL-1β, TNF-α) and chemokine (CCL2) mRNA expression levels. We generated advillin;CB2 conditional knockout mice to ascertain the role of CB2 localized to primary sensory neurons in CB2-mediated therapeutic effects. Antinociceptive efficacy of both AM1710 and LY2828360, but not reference analgesics, were absent in advillin;CB2 mice, which exhibited robust ddC-induced neuropathy. In ddC-treated CB2 mice, LY2828360 suppressed development of morphine tolerance and reversed established morphine tolerance, albeit with greater efficacy in male compared to female mice. LY2828360 failed to block or reverse morphine tolerance in advillin;CB2 mice. The present studies indicate that CB2 activation may alleviate HIV-associated antiretroviral neuropathy and identify a previously unreported mechanism through which CB2 activation produces antinociceptive efficacy. Our results also provide the first evidence that a CB2 agonist can reverse established morphine tolerance and demonstrate that CB2 localized to peripheral sensory neurons mediates the opioid tolerance sparing efficacy of CB2 agonists.