Background: T-type calcium channels and cannabinoid receptors are known to play important roles in chronic pain, making them attractive therapeutic targets. We recently reported on the design, synthesis and analgesic properties of a novel T-type channel inhibitor (NMP-7), which also shows mixed agonist activity on CB1 and CB2 receptors in vitro. Here, we analyzed the analgesic effect of systemically delivered NMP-7 (intraperitoneal (i.p.) or intragstric (i.g.) routes) on mechanical hypersensitivity in inflammatory pain induced by Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA) and neuropathic pain induced by sciatic nerve injury.
Results: NMP-7 delivered by either i.p. or i.g. routes produced dose-dependent inhibition of mechanical hyperalgesia in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, without altering spontaneous locomotor activity in the open-field test at the highest active dose. Neither i.p. nor i.g. treatment reduced peripheral inflammation per se, as evaluated by examining paw edema and myeloperoxidase activity. The antinociception produced by NMP-7 in the CFA test was completely abolished in CaV3.2-null mice, confirming CaV3.2 as a key target. The analgesic action of intraperitoneally delivered NMP-7 was not affected by pretreatment of mice with the CB1 antagonist AM281, but was significantly attenuated by pretreatment with the CB2 antagonist AM630, suggesting that CB2 receptors, but not CB1 receptors are involved in the action of NMP-7 in vivo.
Conclusions: Overall, our work shows that NMP-7 mediates a significant analgesic effect in a model of persistent inflammatory and chronic neuropathic pain by way of T-type channel modulation and CB2 receptor activation. Thus, this study provides a novel therapeutic avenue for managing chronic pain conditions via mixed CB ligands/T-type channel blockers.