Role of the endocannabinoid system in a mouse model of Fragile X undergoing neuropathic pain.

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Neuropathic pain is a complex condition characterized by sensory, cognitive and affective symptoms that magnify the perception of pain. The underlying pathogenic mechanisms are largely unknown and there is an urgent need for the development of novel medications. The endocannabinoid system modulates pain perception and drugs targeting the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) devoid of psychoactive side effects could emerge as novel analgesics. An interesting model to evaluate the mechanisms underlying resistance to pain is the fragile X mental retardation protein knockout mouse (Fmr1KO), a model of fragile X syndrome that exhibits nociceptive deficits and fails to develop neuropathic pain.A partial sciatic nerve ligation was performed to wild-type (WT) and Fmr1KO mice having (HzCB2 and Fmr1KO-HzCB2, respectively) or not (WT and Fmr1KO mice) a partial deletion of CB2 to investigate the participation of the endocannabinoid system on the pain-resistant phenotype of Fmr1KO mice.Nerve injury induced canonical hypersensitivity in WT and HzCB2 mice, whereas this increased pain sensitivity was absent in Fmr1KO mice. Interestingly, Fmr1KO mice partially lacking CB2 lost this protection against neuropathic pain. Similarly, pain-induced depressive-like behavior was observed in WT, HzCB2 and Fmr1KO-HzCB2 mice, but not in Fmr1KO littermates. Nerve injury evoked different alterations in WT and Fmr1KO mice at spinal and supra-spinal levels that correlated with these nociceptive and emotional alterations.This work shows that CB2 is necessary for the protection against neuropathic pain observed in Fmr1KO mice, raising the interest of targeting this receptor for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

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Authors: Á Ramírez-López, A Pastor, R de la Torre, C La Porta, A Ozaita, D Cabañero, R Maldonado