Metabotropic and NMDA glutamate receptors participate in the cannabinoid-induced antinociception

Neuropharmacology. 2001 Mar;40(3):319-26. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3908(00)00160-x.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the possible contribution of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) to cannabinoid-induced antinociception in the periaqueductal grey (PAG) matter of rats. Intra-PAG microinjection of WIN 55,212-2, a cannabinoid receptor agonist, increased the latency of the nociceptive reaction (NR) in a dose-dependent fashion in the plantar test. This effect was prevented by pretreatment with SR141716A, a selective antagonist of CB1 receptors. When injected alone, SR141716A produced, with the highest dosage used, a significant reduction in the latency of the NR. CPCCOEt, a selective mGlu1 receptor antagonist, was unable to prevent the analgesia produced by WIN 55,212-2. On the contrary, MPEP, a selective mGlu5 receptor antagonist, completely antagonized the effect of WIN 55,212-2. However, the analgesia induced by CHPG, a selective mGlu5 receptor agonist, was blocked by MPEP but not by SR141716A. When injected alone, CPCOOEt produced no effect, whereas MPEP produced, with the highest dosage used, a significant reduction in the latency of the NR. These data emphasize that mGlu5 receptors, but not mGluR1, may modulate nociception in the PAG. Similarly, a pretreatment with either 2-(S)-alpha-EGlu or (RS)-alpha-MSOP, selective antagonists for group II and III mGluRs, respectively, prevented the WIN 55,212-2-induced analgesia. When the higher dosage of (RS)-alpha-MSOP was used a decrease in the latency of the NR was observed. This was not the case for 2-(S)-alpha-EGlu. Pretreatment with DL-AP5, a selective antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, blocked the effect of WIN 55,212-2, and by increasing the dosage strongly reduced per se the latency of the NR. This study suggests that endogenous glutamate could tonically modulate nociception through mGlu and NMDA receptors in the PAG matter. In particular, the physiological stimulation of these receptors seems to be required for the cannabinoid-induced analgesia in this midbrain area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Benzoxazines
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / administration & dosage
  • Cannabinoids / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microinjections
  • Morpholines / administration & dosage
  • Morpholines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Naphthalenes / administration & dosage
  • Naphthalenes / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Periaqueductal Gray / drug effects*
  • Periaqueductal Gray / metabolism
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage
  • Pyrazoles / administration & dosage
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5
  • Receptors, Drug / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / agonists
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Rimonabant


  • Analgesics
  • Benzoxazines
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Cannabinoids
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Morpholines
  • Naphthalenes
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5
  • Receptors, Drug
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1
  • Glutamic Acid
  • (3R)-((2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-((4-morpholinyl)methyl)pyrrolo-(1,2,3-de)-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl)(1-naphthalenyl))methanone
  • Rimonabant