CB<inf>1</inf> receptors mediate the analgesic effects of cannabinoids on colorectal distension-induced visceral pain in rodents

Mikael Brusberg, Susanne Arvidsson, Daiwu Kang, Håkan Larsson, Erik Lindström, Vicente Martinez

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62 Citations (Scopus)


Activation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2 and GPR55) produces analgesic effects in several experimental pain models, including visceral pain arising from the gastrointestinal tract. We assessed the role of CB1, CB2, and GPR55 receptors and the endogenous cannabinoid system on basal pain responses and acute mechanical hyperalgesia during colorectal distension (CRD) in rodents. The effects of cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists on pain-related responses to CRD were assessed in rats and in wild-type and CB1 receptor knock-out mice. The dual CB1/2 agonist, WIN55,212-2, and the peripherally acting CB1-selective agonist, SAB-378, inhibited pain-related responses to repetitive noxious CRD (80 mmHg) in a dose-related manner in rats. The analgesic effects of WIN55,212-2 and SAB-378 were blocked by the selective CB1 antagonist SR141716, but were not affected by the selective CB2 antagonist SR144528. SR141716, per se, increased the responses to repetitive noxious CRD, indicative of hyperalgesia, and induced pain-related responses during non-noxious CRD (20 mmHg), indicative of allodynia. The cannabinoid receptor agonists anandamide, virodhamine and O-1602 had no effect. At analgesic doses, WIN55,212-2 did not affect colonic compliance. In accordance to the rat data, WIN55,212-2 produced analgesia, whereas SR141716 induced hyperalgesia, during noxious CRD (55 mmHg) in wild-type but not in CB1-knock-out mice. These data indicate that peripheral CB1 receptors mediate the analgesic effects of cannabinoids on visceral pain from the gastrointestinal tract. The allodynic and hyperalgesic responses induced by SR141716 suggest the existence of an endogenous cannabinoid tone and the activation of CB1 receptors during noxious CRD. Copyright © 2009 Society for Neuroscience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1554-1564
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2009


  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Hyperalgesia
  • SR141716
  • Visceral pain
  • WIN55,212-2


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