Cannabinoid-targeted pain therapies are increasing with the expansion of cannabis legalization, however, their efficacy may be limited by pain-induced adaptations in the cannabinoid system. Cannabinoid receptor subtype 1 (CB1R) inhibition of spontaneous, GABAergic miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs) and evoked IPSCs (eIPSCs) in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) were compared in slices from naive and inflamed male and female Sprague Dawley rats. Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA) injections into the hindpaw induced persistent inflammation. In naive rats, exogenous cannabinoid agonists robustly reduce both eIPSCs and mIPSCs. After 5–7 d of inflammation, the effects of exogenous cannabinoids are significantly reduced because of CB1R desensitization via GRK2/3, as function is recovered in the presence of the GRK2/3 inhibitor, Compound 101 (Cmp101). Inhibition of GABA release by presynaptic μ-opioid receptors in the vlPAG does not desensitize with persistent inflammation. Unexpectedly, while CB1R desensitization significantly reduces the inhibition produced by exogenous agonists, depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition protocols that promote 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) synthesis exhibit prolonged CB1R activation after inflammation. 2-AG tone is detected in slices from CFA-treated rats when GRK2/3 is blocked, suggesting an increase in 2-AG synthesis after persistent inflammation. Inhibiting 2-AG degradation with the monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) inhibitor JZL184 during inflammation results in the desensitization of CB1Rs by endocannabinoids that is reversed with Cmp101. Collectively, these data indicate that persistent inflammation primes CB1Rs for desensitization, and MAGL degradation of 2-AG protects CB1Rs from desensitization in inflamed rats. These adaptations with inflammation have important implications for the development of cannabinoid-based pain therapeutics targeting MAGL and CB1Rs.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Presynaptic G-protein-coupled receptors are resistant to desensitization. Here we find that persistent inflammation increases endocannabinoid levels, priming presynaptic cannabinoid 1 receptors for desensitization on subsequent addition of exogenous agonists. Despite the reduced efficacy of exogenous agonists, endocannabinoids have prolonged efficacy after persistent inflammation. Endocannabinoids readily induce cannabinoid 1 receptor desensitization if their degradation is blocked, indicating that endocannabinoid concentrations are maintained at subdesensitizing levels and that degradation is critical for maintaining endocannabinoid regulation of presynaptic GABA release in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray during inflammatory states. These adaptations with inflammation have important implications for the development of cannabinoid-based pain therapies.

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This post is Copyright: Bouchet, C. A., McPherson, K. B., Coutens, B., Janowsky, A., Ingram, S. L. | July 27, 2023
Journal of Neuroscience current issue