Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Endocannabinoids at the spinal level regulate, but do not mediate, nonopioid stress-induced analgesia

  • Author(s): Suplita, RL
  • Gutierrez, T
  • Fegley, D
  • Piomelli, D
  • Hohmann, AG
  • et al.
Abstract

Recent work in our laboratories has demonstrated that an opioid-independent form of stress-induced analgesia (SIA) is mediated by endogenous cannabinoids [Hohmann et al., 2005. Nature 435, 1108]. Non-opioid SIA, induced by a 3-min continuous foot shock, is characterized by the mobilization of two endocannabinoid lipids - 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide - in the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG). The present studies were conducted to examine the contributions of spinal endocannabinoids to nonopioid SIA. Time-dependent increases in levels of 2-AG, but not anandamide, were observed in lumbar spinal cord extracts derived from shocked relative to non-shocked rats. Notably, 2-AG accumulation was of smaller magnitude than that observed previously in the dorsal midbrain following foot shock. 2-AG is preferentially degraded by monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL), whereas anandamide is hydrolyzed primarily by fatty-acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). This metabolic segregation enabled us to manipulate endocannabinoid tone at the spinal level to further evaluate the roles of 2-AG and anandamide in nonopioid SIA. Intrathecal administration of the competitive CB1antagonist SR141716A (rimonabant) failed to suppress nonopioid SIA, suggesting that supraspinal rather than spinal CB1receptor activation plays a pivotal role in endocannabinoid-mediated SIA. By contrast, spinal inhibition of MGL using URB602, which selectively inhibits 2-AG hydrolysis in the PAG, enhanced SIA through a CB1-selective mechanism. Spinal inhibition of FAAH, with either URB597 or arachidonoyl serotonin (AA-5-HT), also enhanced SIA through a CB1-mediated mechanism, presumably by increasing accumulation of tonically released anandamide. Our results suggest that endocannabinoids in the spinal cord regulate, but do not mediate, nonopioid SIA. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View