Antinociceptive effects of the selective CB2 agonist MT178 in inflammatory and chronic rodent pain models

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SummaryThe selective CB2 agonist MT178 is effective in inflammatory and chronic pain models and reduces d-aspartate and substance P release as well as NF-κB activation.Cannabinoid CB2 receptor activation by selective agonists has been shown to produce analgesic effects in preclinical models of inflammatory, neuropathic, and bone cancer pain. In this study the effect of a novel CB2 agonist (MT178) was evaluated in different animal models of pain. First of all, in vitro competition binding experiments performed on rat, mouse, or human CB receptors revealed a high affinity, selectivity, and potency of MT178. The analgesic properties of the novel CB2 agonist were evaluated in various in vivo experiments, such as writhing and formalin assays, showing a good efficacy comparable with that produced by the nonselective CB agonist WIN 55,212-2. A dose-dependent antiallodynic effect of the novel CB2 compound in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic neuropathy was found. In a bone cancer pain model and in the acid-induced muscle pain model, MT178 was able to significantly reduce mechanical hyperalgesia in a dose-related manner. Notably, MT178 failed to provoke locomotor disturbance and catalepsy, which were observed following the administration of WIN 55,212-2. CB2 receptor mechanism of action was investigated in dorsal root ganglia where MT178 mediated a reduction of [3H]-d-aspartate release. MT178 was also able to inhibit capsaicin-induced substance P release and NF-κB activation. These results demonstrate that systemic administration of MT178 produced a robust analgesia in different pain models via CB2 receptors, providing an interesting approach to analgesic therapy in inflammatory and chronic pain without CB1-mediated central side effects.

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