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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 May 2023 - 2 Jun 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Neuropathic Pain

2023 May 26

Int J Pharm


Novel Topical Anandamide Formulation for Alleviating Peripheral Neuropathic Pain.


Police A, Kumar Shankar V, Pandey P, Rangappa S, Doerksen RJ, Narasimha Murthy S


Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a condition of peripheral nerve damage leading to severe pain. The first line therapies are associated with adverse psychotropic effects (PSE) and second line therapies are not efficient enough to relieve pain. There is an unmet drug need for relieving pain effectively without PSE in PN. Anandamide, an endocannabinoid activates cannabinoid receptors to relieve the pain due to peripheral neuropathy (PN). Anandamide has a very short biological half-life as they are extensively metabolized by fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme (FAAH). Regional delivery of safe FAAH inhibitor (FI) with anandamide would be beneficial for PN without psychotropic effects. The objective of the study is to identify a safe FAAH inhibitor and deliver the anandamide in combination with the FAAH inhibitor topically for the management of PN. The FAAH inhibition potential of silymarin constituents was evaluated by molecular docking and in vitro studies. The topical gel formulation was developed to deliver anandamide and FI. The formulation was assessed in chemotherapeutic agent-induced peripheral neuropathy rat models to relieve mechanical-allodynia and thermal-hyperalgesia. The molecular docking studies demonstrated that the Prime MM-GBSA free energy of silymarin constituents were in the order of silybin > isosilybin > silychristin > taxifolin > silydianin. In in vitro studies, silybin 20 µM inhibited >61.8% of FAAH activity and increased the half-life of anandamide. The developed formulation increased permeation of anandamide and silybin across the porcine skin. Furthermore, on the application of anandamide and anandamide-silybin gel to rat paws, there was a significant increase in the pain threshold for allodynic and hyperalgesic stimulus up to 1 h and 4 h, respectively. The topical anandamide with silybin delivery approach could serve to alleviate peripheral neuropathy efficiently and thus could minimize unwanted CNS side effects of synthetic or natural cannabinoids in patients.