ABSTRACT: The cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor is expressed by a sub-population of primary sensory neurons. However, data on the neurochemical identity of the CB1 receptor-expressing cells, and CB1 receptor expression by the peripheral and central terminals of these neurons are inconsistent and limited. We characterised CB1 receptor expression in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and spinal cord at the lumbar 4-5 level, as well as in the urinary bladder and glabrous skin of the hindpaw. About 1/3 of DRG neurons exhibited immunopositivity for the CB1 receptor, the majority of which showed positivity for the nociceptive markers calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) or/and Griffonia (bandeiraea) simplicifolia IB4 isolectin-binding. Virtually all CB1 receptor-immunostained fibres showed immunopositivity for CGRP in the skin, while very few did in the urinary bladder. No CB1 receptor-immunopositive nerve fibres were IB4 positive in either peripheral tissue. Spinal laminae I and II-outer showed the highest density of CB1 receptor-immunopositive punctae, the majority of which showed positivity for CGRP or/and IB4 binding. These data indicate that a major sub-population of nociceptive primary sensory neurons expresses CB1 receptors that are transported to both peripheral and central terminals of these cells. Therefore, the present data suggest that manipulation of endogenous CB1 receptor agonist levels in these areas may significantly reduce nociceptive input into the spinal cord.
Brain Structure and Function 05/2012; · 5.63 Impact Factor