Cannabinoid CB2 Receptor Activation Inhibits Mechanically Evoked Responses of Wide Dynamic Range Dorsal Horn Neurons in naïve Rats and in Rat Models of Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain

Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Nov;20(9):2311-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03690.x.


Peripheral cannabinoid 2 receptors (CB2 receptors) modulate immune responses and attenuate nociceptive behaviour in models of acute and persistent pain. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether peripheral CB2 receptors modulate spinal processing of innocuous and noxious responses and to determine whether there are altered roles of CB2 receptors in models of persistent pain. Effects of local administration of the CB2 receptor agonist JWH-133 (5 and 15 microg/50 microL) on mechanically evoked responses of spinal wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons in noninflamed rats, rats with carrageenan-induced hindpaw inflammation, sham operated rats and spinal nerve-ligated (SNL) rats were determined in anaesthetized rats in vivo. Mechanical stimulation (von Frey filaments, 6-80 g) of the peripheral receptive field evoked firing of WDR neurons. Mechanically evoked responses of WDR neurons were similar in noninflamed, carrageenan-inflamed, sham-operated and SNL rats. Intraplantar injection of JWH-133 (15 microg), but not vehicle, significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited innocuous and noxious mechanically evoked responses of WDR neurons in all four groups of rats. In many cases the selective CB2 receptor antagonist, SR144528 (10 microg/50 microL), attenuated the inhibitory effects of JWH-133 (15 microg) on mechanically evoked WDR neuronal responses. The CB1 receptor antagonist, SR141716A, did not attenuate the inhibitory effects of JWH-133 on these responses. Intraplantar preadministration of JWH-133 also inhibited (P < 0.05) carrageenan-induced expansion of peripheral receptive fields of WDR dorsal horn neurons. This study demonstrates that activation of peripheral CB2 receptors attenuates both innocuous- and noxious-evoked responses of WDR neurons in models of acute, inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Camphanes / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Carrageenan
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy
  • Neuralgia / metabolism*
  • Neuralgia / physiopathology
  • Nociceptors / drug effects
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Posterior Horn Cells / drug effects
  • Posterior Horn Cells / metabolism*
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / agonists
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / metabolism*
  • Rimonabant
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / drug effects
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Spinal Nerves / injuries
  • Spinal Nerves / physiopathology
  • Spinal Nerves / surgery


  • Camphanes
  • Cannabinoids
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2
  • SR 144528
  • Carrageenan
  • Rimonabant
  • 1,1-dimethylbutyl-1-deoxy-Delta(9)-THC