Although cannabinoids are efficacious in laboratory animal models of inflammatory pain, their established cannabimimetic actions diminish enthusiasm for their therapeutic development. Conversely, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the chief catabolic enzyme regulating the endogenous cannabinoid N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide), has emerged as an attractive target for treating pain and other conditions. Here, we tested WIN 55212-2 [(R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl)pyrrolo[1,2,3-de)-1,4-benzo xazin-6-yl]-1-napthalenylmethanone], a cannabinoid receptor agonist, and genetic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of FAAH in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mouse model of inflammatory pain. WIN 55212-2 significantly reduced edema and hot-plate hyperalgesia caused by LPS infusion into the hind paws, although the mice also displayed analgesia and other central nervous system effects. FAAH(-/-) mice exhibited reduced paw edema and hyperalgesia in this model without apparent cannabimimetic effects. Transgenic mice expressing FAAH exclusively on neurons continued to display the antiedematous, but not the antihyperalgesic, phenotype. The CB(2) cannabinoid receptor (CB(2)) antagonist SR144528 [N-[(1S)-endo-1,3,3-trimethyl bicyclo [2.2.1] heptan-2-yl]-5-(4-chloro-3-methylphenyl)-1-(4-methylbenzyl)-pyrazole-3-carboxamid e] blocked this non-neuronal, anti-inflammatory phenotype, and the CB(1) cannabinoid receptor (CB(1)) antagonist rimonabant [SR141716, N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole -3-carboxamide] blocked the antihyperalgesic phenotype. The FAAH inhibitor URB597 [cyclohexylcarbamic acid 3'-carbamoylbiphenyl-3-yl ester] attenuated the development of LPS-induced paw edema and reversed LPS-induced hyperalgesia through the respective CB(2) and CB(1) mechanisms of action. However, the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 antagonist capsazepine did not affect either the antihyperalgesic or antiedematous effects of URB597. Finally, URB597 attenuated levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1beta and tumor necrosis factor alpha in LPS-treated paws. These findings demonstrate that simultaneous elevations in non-neuronal and neuronal endocannabinoid signaling are possible through inhibition of a single enzymatic target, thereby offering a potentially powerful strategy for treating chronic inflammatory pain syndromes that operate at multiple levels of anatomical integration.
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