- R-flurbiprofen reduces neuropathic pain in rodents by restoring endogenous cannabinoids (2010)
- Background: R-flurbiprofen, one of the enantiomers of flurbiprofen racemate, is inactive with respect to cyclooxygenase inhibition, but shows analgesic properties without relevant toxicity. Its mode of action is still unclear. Methodology/Principal Findings: We show that R-flurbiprofen reduces glutamate release in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord evoked by sciatic nerve injury and thereby alleviates pain in sciatic nerve injury models of neuropathic pain in rats and mice. This is mediated by restoring the balance of endocannabinoids (eCB), which is disturbed following peripheral nerve injury in the DRGs, spinal cord and forebrain. The imbalance results from transcriptional adaptations of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and NAPE-phospholipase D, i.e. the major enzymes involved in anandamide metabolism and synthesis, respectively. R-flurbiprofen inhibits FAAH activity and normalizes NAPE-PLD expression. As a consequence, R-Flurbiprofen improves endogenous cannabinoid mediated effects, indicated by the reduction of glutamate release, increased activity of the anti-inflammatory transcription factor PPAR gamma and attenuation of microglia activation. Antinociceptive effects are lost by combined inhibition of CB1 and CB2 receptors and partially abolished in CB1 receptor deficient mice. R-flurbiprofen does however not cause changes of core body temperature which is a typical indicator of central effects of cannabinoid-1 receptor agonists. Conclusion: Our results suggest that R-flurbiprofen improves the endogenous mechanisms to regain stability after axonal injury and to fend off chronic neuropathic pain by modulating the endocannabinoid system and thus constitutes an attractive, novel therapeutic agent in the treatment of chronic, intractable pain.
- Site-specific and time-dependent activation of the endocannabinoid system after transection of long-range projections (2012)
- Background: After focal neuronal injury the endocannabinioid system becomes activated and protects or harms neurons depending on cannabinoid derivates and receptor subtypes. Endocannabinoids (eCBs) play a central role in controlling local responses and influencing neural plasticity and survival. However, little is known about the functional relevance of eCBs in long-range projection damage as observed in stroke or spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: In rat organotypic entorhino-hippocampal slice cultures (OHSC) as a relevant and suitable model for investigating projection fibers in the CNS we performed perforant pathway transection (PPT) and subsequently analyzed the spatial and temporal dynamics of eCB levels. This approach allows proper distinction of responses in originating neurons (entorhinal cortex), areas of deafferentiation/anterograde axonal degeneration (dentate gyrus) and putative changes in more distant but synaptically connected subfields (cornu ammonis (CA) 1 region). Results: Using LC-MS/MS, we measured a strong increase in arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) levels in the denervation zone (dentate gyrus) 24 hours post lesion (hpl), whereas entorhinal cortex and CA1 region exhibited little if any changes. NAPE-PLD, responsible for biosynthesis of eCBs, was increased early, whereas FAAH, a catabolizing enzyme, was up-regulated 48hpl. Conclusion: Neuronal damage as assessed by transection of long-range projections apparently provides a strong time-dependent and area-confined signal for de novo synthesis of eCB, presumably to restrict neuronal damage. The present data underlines the importance of activation of the eCB system in CNS pathologies and identifies a novel site-specific intrinsic regulation of eCBs after long-range projection damage.
- Intrinsic up-regulation of 2-AG favors an area specific neuronal survival in different in vitro models of neuronal damage (2012)
- BACKGROUND: The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) acts as a retrograde messenger and modulates synaptic signaling e. g. in the hippocampus. 2-AG also exerts neuroprotective effects under pathological situations. To better understand the mechanism beyond physiological signaling we used Organotypic Entorhino-Hippocampal Slice Cultures (OHSC) and investigated the temporal regulation of 2-AG in different cell subsets during excitotoxic lesion and dendritic lesion of long range projections in the enthorhinal cortex (EC), dentate gyrus (DG) and the cornu ammonis region 1 (CA1). RESULTS: 2-AG levels were elevated 24 h after excitotoxic lesion in CA1 and DG (but not EC) and 24 h after perforant pathway transection (PPT) in the DG only. After PPT diacylglycerol lipase alpha (DAGL) protein, the synthesizing enzyme of 2-AG was decreased when Dagl mRNA expression and 2-AG levels were enhanced. In contrast to DAGL, the 2-AG hydrolyzing enzyme monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) showed no alterations in total protein and mRNA expression after PPT in OHSC. MAGL immunoreaction underwent a redistribution after PPT and excitotoxic lesion since MAGL IR disappeared in astrocytes of lesioned OHSC. DAGL and MAGL immunoreactions were not detectable in microglia at all investigated time points. Thus, induction of the neuroprotective endocannabinoid 2-AG might be generally accomplished by down-regulation of MAGL in astrocytes after neuronal lesions. CONCLUSION: Increase in 2-AG levels during secondary neuronal damage reflects a general neuroprotective mechanism since it occurred independently in both different lesion models. This intrinsic up-regulation of 2-AG is synergistically controlled by DAGL and MAGL in neurons and astrocytes and thus represents a protective system for neurons that is involved in dendritic reorganisation.