Background: Chemotherapeutic agents produce dose-limiting peripheral neuropathy through mechanisms that remain poorly understood. We previously showed that AM1710, a cannabilactone CB₂ agonist, produces antinociception without producing central nervous system (CNS)-associated side effects. The present study was conducted to examine the antinociceptive effect of AM1710 in rodent models of neuropathic pain evoked by diverse chemotherapeutic agents (cisplatin and paclitaxel). A secondary objective was to investigate the potential contribution of alpha-chemokine receptor (CXCR4) signaling to both chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and CB₂ agonist efficacy.
Results: AM1710 (0.1, 1 or 5 mg/kg i.p.) suppressed the maintenance of mechanical and cold allodynia in the cisplatin and paclitaxel models. Anti-allodynic effects of AM1710 were blocked by the CB₂ antagonist AM630 (3 mg/kg i.p.), but not the CB1 antagonist AM251 (3 mg/kg i.p.), consistent with a CB₂-mediated effect. By contrast, blockade of CXCR4 signaling with its receptor antagonist AMD3100 (10 mg/kg i.p.) failed to attenuate mechanical or cold hypersensitivity induced by either cisplatin or paclitaxel. Moreover, blockade of CXCR4 signaling failed to alter the anti-allodynic effects of AM1710 in the paclitaxel model, further suggesting distinct mechanisms of action.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that activation of cannabinoid CB₂ receptors by AM1710 suppresses both mechanical and cold allodynia in two distinct models of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. By contrast, CXCR4 signaling does not contribute to the maintenance of chemotherapy-induced established neuropathy or efficacy of AM1710. Our studies suggest that CB₂ receptors represent a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of toxic neuropathies produced by cisplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapeutic agents.