Antinociceptive effect of the cannabinoid agonist, WIN 55,212-2, in the orofacial and temporomandibular formalin tests

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Orofacial pain disorders are frequent in the general population and their pharmacological treatment is not always adequately resolved. Cannabinoids have demonstrated their analgesic effect in several pain conditions, both in animal models and in clinical situations. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the cannabinoid-mediated antinociception in two inflammatory models of orofacial pain (orofacial and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) formalin test) and to compare it with a spinal inflammatory model (paw formalin test). WIN 55,212-2 (0.5, 1 mg/kg), a synthetic cannabinoid agonist, was intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered prior to formalin and significantly reduced the nociceptive behavioural responses in these inflammatory tests. To elucidate which subtype of receptor could be involved in such effect, two selective cannabinoid antagonists were administered prior to WIN. SR141716A (1 mg/kg i.p.), the CB1 receptor-selective antagonist, was able to prevent the cannabinoid-induced analgesia in all three models, whereas SR144528 (1 mg/kg i.p.), the CB2 receptor-selective antagonist, only prevented it in the paw formalin test. A comparison with the antinociceptive effects of morphine (2.5, 5, 10 mg/kg, i.p.), indomethacin (2.5, 5 mg/kg, i.p.) and ketamine (25, 50 mg/kg, i.p.) was also performed. Morphine displayed a dose-dependent reduction of acute and inflammatory pain in all three models, whereas indomethacin and ketamine only attenuated inflammatory pain at the highest tested doses. These results indicate that the cannabinoid-induced antinociception in the orofacial region is mediated by activation of CB1 cannabinoid receptor. Moreover WIN was as effective as morphine and more effective than indomethacin and ketamine, in oral inflammatory pain.

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