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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 May 2024 - 31 May 2024

2024 May 30



Peripherally restricted cannabinoid and mu-opioid receptor agonists synergistically attenuate neuropathic mechanical hypersensitivity in mice.


Limerick G, Uniyal A, Ford N, He S, Grenald SA, Zhang C, Cui X, Sivanesan E, Dong X, Guan Y, Raja SN


Many medications commonly used to treat neuropathic pain are associated with significant, dose-limiting adverse effects, including sedation, dizziness, and fatigue. These adverse effects are due to the activity of these medications within the central nervous system. The objective of this work was to investigate the interactions between peripherally restricted cannabinoid receptor and mu-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists on ongoing and evoked neuropathic pain behaviors in mouse models. RNAscope analysis of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) and MOR mRNA demonstrated that the mRNA of both receptors is colocalized in both mouse and human dorsal root ganglion. Single-cell RNAseq of dorsal root ganglion from chronic constriction injury mice showed that the mRNA of both receptors (Cnr1 and Oprm1) is coexpressed across different neuron clusters. Myc-CB1R and FLAG-MOR were cotransfected into immortalized HEK-293T cells and were found to interact at a subcellular level. We also find that CB-13 (a peripherally restricted dual CB1R and cannabinoid receptor type 2 agonist) and DALDA (a peripherally restricted MOR agonist) both attenuate mechanical hypersensitivity in a murine model of neuropathic pain. Using isobolographic analysis, we demonstrate that when coadministered, these agents synergistically attenuate mechanical hypersensitivity. Importantly, combination dosing of these agents does not cause any detectable preferential behaviors or motor impairment. However, repeated dosing of these agents is associated with the development of tolerance to these drugs. Collectively, these findings suggest that leveraging synergistic pain inhibition between cannabinoid receptor and MOR agonists in peripheral sensory neurons may be worth examining in patients with neuropathic pain.