IJMS, Vol. 23, Pages 11686: Mechanisms Underlining Inflammatory Pain Sensitivity in Mice Selected for High and Low Stress-Induced Analgesia—The Role of Endocannabinoids and Microglia (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
In this work we strived to determine whether endocannabinoid system activity could account for the differences in acute inflammatory pain sensitivity in mouse lines selected for high (HA) and low (LA) swim-stress-induced analgesia (SSIA). Mice received intraplantar injections of 5% formalin and the intensity of nocifensive behaviours was scored. To assess the contribution of the endocannabinoid system, mice were intraperitoneally (i.p.) injected with rimonabant (0.3–3 mg/kg) prior to formalin. Minocycline (45 and 100 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered to investigate microglial activation. The possible involvement of the endogenous opioid system was investigated with naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p.). Cannabinoid receptor types 1 and 2 (Cnr1, Cnr2) and opioid receptor subtype (Oprm1, Oprd1, Oprk1) mRNA levels were quantified by qPCR in the structures of the central nociceptive circuit. Levels of anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) were measured by liquid chromatography coupled with the mass spectrometry method (LC-MS/MS). In the interphase, higher pain thresholds in the HA mice correlated with increased spinal anandamide and 2-AG release and higher Cnr1 transcription. Downregulation of Oprd1 and Oprm1 mRNA was noted in HA and LA mice, respectively, however no differences in naloxone sensitivity were observed in either line. As opposed to the LA mice, inflammatory pain sensitivity in the HA mice in the tonic phase was attributed to enhanced microglial activation, as evidenced by enhanced Aif1 and Il-1β mRNA levels. To conclude, Cnr1 inhibitory signaling is one mechanism responsible for decreased pain sensitivity in HA mice in the interphase, while increased microglial activation corresponds to decreased pain thresholds in the tonic inflammatory phase.