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The cannabinoid CB2 receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts analgesic effects in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain

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The widespread plant volatile beta-caryophyllene (BCP) was recently identified as a natural selective agonist of the peripherally expressed cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). It is found in relatively high concentrations in many spices and food plants. A number of studies have shown that CB2 is critically involved in the modulation of inflammatory and neuropathic pain responses. In this study, we have investigated the analgesic effects of BCP in animal models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. We demonstrate that orally administered BCP reduced inflammatory (late phase) pain responses in the formalin test in a CB2 receptor-dependent manner, while it had no effect on acute (early phase) responses. In a neuropathic pain model the chronic oral administration of BCP attenuated thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia, and reduced spinal neuroinflammation. Importantly, we found no signs of tolerance to the anti-hyperalgesic effects of BCP after prolonged treatment. Oral BCP was more effective than the subcutaneously injected synthetic CB2 agonist JWH-133. Thus, the natural plant product BCP may be highly effective in the treatment of long lasting, debilitating pain states. Our results have important implications for the role of dietary factors in the development and modulation of chronic pain conditions.
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The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective
phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of
inammatory and neuropathic pain
A.-L. Klauke
a,1
, I. Racz
a,
n
,1
, B. Pradier
a
, A. Markert
a
,
A.M. Zimmer
a
, J. Gertsch
b
, A. Zimmer
a
a
Institute of Molecular Psychiatry, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Straße 25, D-53127 Bonn, Germany
b
Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, NCCR TransCure, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern,
Switzerland
Received 23 April 2013; received in revised form 31 August 2013; accepted 12 October 2013
KEYWORDS
Inammatory pain;
Neuropathic pain;
CB
2
;
Beta-caryophyllene;
Dietary cannabinoid
Abstract
The widespread plant volatile beta-caryophyllene (BCP) was recently identied as a natural
selective agonist of the peripherally expressed cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB
2
). It is found in
relatively high concentrations in many spices and food plants. A number of studies have shown
that CB
2
is critically involved in the modulation of inammatory and neuropathic pain
responses. In this study, we have investigated the analgesic effects of BCP in animal models
of inammatory and neuropathic pain. We demonstrate that orally administered BCP reduced
inammatory (late phase) pain responses in the formalin test in a CB
2
receptor-dependent
manner, while it had no effect on acute (early phase) responses. In a neuropathic pain model
the chronic oral administration of BCP attenuated thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical
allodynia, and reduced spinal neuroinammation. Importantly, we found no signs of tolerance
to the anti-hyperalgesic effects of BCP after prolonged treatment. Oral BCP was more effective
than the subcutaneously injected synthetic CB
2
agonist JWH-133. Thus, the natural plant
product BCP may be highly effective in the treatment of long lasting, debilitating pain states.
Our results have important implications for the role of dietary factors in the development and
modulation of chronic pain conditions.
&2013 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Pain is an important sensory signal indicating the occurrence or
danger of tissue damage. The associated negative emotional
www.elsevier.com/locate/euroneuro
0924-977X/$ - see front matter &2013 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
n
Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 228 6885 316;
fax: +49 228 6885 301.
E-mail address: iracz@uni-bonn.de (I. Racz).
1
These authors contributed equally to this work.
European Neuropsychopharmacology (]]]])],]]]]]]
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
effect of pain stimulates avoidance behaviors and thus helps to
protect the organism from future dangerous situations
(Basbaum et al., 2009;Woolf and Ma, 2007). Tissue inamma-
tion can enhance pain sensation through the sensitization of
nociceptors, peripheral neurons responding to painful stimuli,
and through a sensitization of spinal neurons leading to an
enhanced transmission of nociceptive signals. The resulting
allodynia and hyperalgesia of the inamed tissue also contri-
butes to the recuperative process (Hauser et al., 2013). Pain
sensation typically reverts to normal levels as the inammatory
response abates. Neuropathic pain conditions on the other hand
do not serve any useful purpose. They arise from lesion or injury
of peripheral nerves, sensory ganglia, spinal roots or central
structures, by trauma, vascular or metabolic disorders, viral
infection, neuroinammation or autoimmune responses. These
lesions trigger inammatory responses at the site of the nerve
injury and in the spinal projection area, characterized by an
activation of microglia and astrocytes, and an increased
production of pro-inammatory cytokines. These responses lead
to long lasting molecular and cellular changes in the spinal cord
that account for many aspects of the chronic pain, as well as
hyperalgesia and allodynia reported by patients suffering from
neuropathic pain (Costigan et al., 2009). Neuropathic pain is
often persistent and difcult to treat with current medications.
Cannabis preparations, which have been used since thou-
sands of years for the treatment of pain (Zias et al., 1993)
have recently come again into the focus as potential
therapeutics for inammatory and neuropathic pain condi-
tions. Currently, cannabis extracts and synthetic preparations
of the psychoactive cannabis compound Δ
9
-tetrahydrocanna-
binol (THC) have been approved in many countries for clinical
pain management at doses and formulations that show on
only minor central side effects (Ben Amar, 2006;Iskedjian
et al., 2007;Lynch and Campbell, 2011). Nevertheless,
psychoactive effects of THC-containing medications are an
important consideration for many clinicians and their
patients. These effects are caused by the activation of the
brain cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB
1
), which also mediates
many of the acute analgesic effects of THC (Hohmann and
Herkenham, 1999). Recent interest has therefore focused on
the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB
2
), which is primarily
expressed in non-neuronal immune cells (Facci et al., 1995;
Maresz et al., 2005). CB
2
expression is induced in many
tissues and cells, including the CNS (Benito et al., 2007),
under inammatory conditions and has therefore been
implicated as a potential therapeutic target for inammatory
disorders including chronic pain. CB
2
-selective agonists
should have an excellent safety prole like THC, while
lacking its psychoactive effects. Indeed, CB
2
receptor ago-
nists showed good anti-nociceptive effects in several animal
models of pain (Guindon and Hohmann, 2008).
A natural selective agonist for CB
2
receptorsistheplant
volatile BCP, which represents a dietary phytocannabinoid
(Gertsch et al., 2008,2010). BCP is found in large amounts in
the essential oils of many common spices and food plants, such
as oregano (Origanum vulgare L.), cinnamon (Cinnamomum
spp.), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), rosemary (Rosmarinus
ofcinalis L.), thyme (Thymus serpyllum), black pepper (Piper
nigrum L.) (Bernardes et al., 2010;Hudaib et al., 2002;
Jayaprakasha et al., 2003;Mockuteetal.,2001;Orav et al.,
2004;Zheng et al., 1992). Several health effects have been
attributed to BCP or medicinal plants containing BCP (Russo,
2011), including anti-inammatory (Gertsch et al., 2008), local
anesthetic (Ghelardini et al., 2001), anti-carcinogenic (Legault
and Pichette, 2007;Loizzo et al., 2008), anti-brotic (Calleja
et al., 2012)andanxiolytic-like(Galdino et al., 2012) activity.
Analgesic effects of BCP were also observed after local
intraplantar application (Katsuyama et al., 2012). There is even
some clinical evidence that aromatic essential oil massage
containing BCP has a benecial effect on menstrual cramps
(Ou et al., 2012). We have previously shown that BCP exerts an
anti-inammatory effect in the carrageenan-induced edema
test (Gertsch et al., 2008). More recently, it was shown that
BCP also inhibits inammation and tissue damage in models of
colitis and nephrotoxicity in a CB
2
receptor-dependent manner
(Bento et al., 2011;Horváth et al., 2012).
In the present study, we investigated the analgesic
effects of BCP in formalin-induced inammation model
and in a model of neuropathic pain, which involves the
partial ligation of the sciatic nerve. To assess the contribu-
tion of CB
2
receptors in the analgesic action of BCP we also
carried out experiments in mice lacking CB
2
receptors.
2. Experimental procedures
2.1. Animals
Mice with a genetic deletion of the CB
2
receptor (CB
2
/
) have been
described previously (Buckley et al., 2000). Mutant mice were
crossed for more than 10 generations to C57BL/6J animals and are
thus considered to be congenic for this background. Animals were
housed in groups of three to ve mice per cage under controlled
illumination (light dark cycle 12:12 h) and environmental condi-
tions. All animals were bred in our animal facility, and had free
access to water and food. Male mice were used in this study in the
age of 34 months old. Experimental procedures complied with all
regulations for animal experimentation in Germany and were
approved by Landesamt für Natur, Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz
in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany (AZ: 9.93.210.35.07.310).
2.2. Drugs
Beta-caryophyllene (5:1 isomer mixture of (E)- and (Z)-BCP)) was
puried from a commercially available 70% pure preparation (TCI
America) by HPLC and analyzed in GC/MS. The 95% pure BCP
contained residual amounts of alpha-humulene and traces of the
BCP oxidation product BCP oxide. BCP was dissolved in olive oil
(Fluka) at a concentration of 0.02, 0.2, 1 and 2 mg ml
1
and frozen in
aliquots at 20 1C. On every treatment day aliquots were defrosted
and gavage-fed at a volume of 5 ml kg
1
with the help of a feeding
needle, thus resulting in doses of 0.1, 1, 5 or 10 mg kg
1
respectively.
The synthetic CB
2
agonist JWH-133 was purchased in a solution,
dissolved in TocrisolveTM 100, (Tocris Bioscience) and was further
diluted to a concentration of 0.1, 0.5, and 1 mg ml
1
,andinjected
subcutaneously in a volume of 10 ml kg
1
.TheCB
2
antagonist SR
144528 (kindly provided by NIH) was dissolved in ethanol: chremo-
phor: water (1:1:18) solution at a concentration of 0.1 mg ml
1
and
was injected in a volume of 10 ml kg
1
intraperitoneally (i.p.).
Morphine (Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) was dissolved in saline
and was injected i.p. in a doses of 5 mg kg
1
.
2.3. Inammatory pain model: formalin test
Male wild type (CB
2
+/+
) and CB
2
/
mice were injected with 20 mlof
5% formalin into the plantar surface of the right hindpaw. The left
paw served as control. Formalin injection produces a biphasic pain
A.-L. Klauke et al.2
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
response. The early phase (15 min) is an immediate pain response
caused by the formalin, while inammatory processes and central
sensitization contribute to late phase (1530 min) pain. The number
of pain responses such as paw licking, shaking and lifting were
evaluated every 10 s on the ipsilateral and on contralateral sides by
an observer who was blind to experimental groups. Thirty minutes
before the formalin injection, the mice were gavage-fed with BCP,
or vehicle. Other groups of mice were injected subcutaneously with
a reference compound, JWH-133 or vehicle 30 min before the
formalin treatment. As a CB
2
antagonist SR 144528 was used and
administered i.p. 15 min before the agonists. As positive control for
analgesia, we treated CB
2
/
animals with 5 mg kg
1
morphine i.p.
2.4. Neuropathic pain model: partial sciatic nerve
ligation (PNL)
To induce neuropathic pain, a partial ligation of the right sciatic
nerve was performed as described (Racz et al., 2008). Male wild
type CB
2
+/+
and CB
2
/
mice were operated under isourane (23%
in 95% O
2
for induction and 1.52% in 95% O
2
for maintenance)
anesthesia. The duration of surgery was no longer than 1015 min.
One half to one-third of the sciatic nerve at midthigh level was
tightly ligated with a polypropylene thread (90). In sham operated
mice the nerve was exposed without ligation.
Mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia were tested as an
indicator for the development of neuropathic pain by an observer
who was blind to the treatment strategy. Mice were habituated to
the experimental setup for 1 h on three consecutive days before the
behavioral testing started. First, baseline nociceptive responses
were determined. The partial nerve ligation was performed 1 day
later. To assess the neuropathic pain outcome the animals were
then tested on days 3, 6, 8, 10 and 14 after the partial nerve
ligation.
Mechanical allodynia was assessed with a dynamic aesthesi-
ometer (Ugo Basile Biological Research Apparatus), which consists
of an electronically controlled mobile pressure-actuator that is able
to exert a continuously increasing force. Mice were placed in a
transparent Plexiglas chamber with a metal grid oor. The tip of the
actuator (diameter: 0.5 mm) was applied to the middle of the
plantar surface of the hind paw. The forces necessary to trigger
withdrawal responses of the ipsilateral or contralateral hind paws
were recorded. Means were determined by averaging three to ve
trials per paw.
Thermal hyperalgesia was evaluated using a Hargreaves appara-
tus (Ugo Basile Biological Research Apparatus, I.R. intensity: 40).
The mean withdrawal latencies were determined by averaging
three to ve separate trials. Both mechanical allodynia and thermal
hyperalgesia were evaluated in the same group of animals: the tests
were separated at least by 1 h.
Mice received daily either BCP or vehicle by gavage, or the
reference compound JWH-133 or vehicle by subcutaneous injections
starting 1 day after the partial nerve ligation. On the test days,
drugs were administered directly after the experiments.
2.5. Immunohistochemistry
At the end of the behavioral experiments, 45 mice per group were
anesthetized using a Ketavet/Rompun (10 mg kg
1
/0.1 mg kg
1
)
mixture and intracardially perfused with ice cold phosphate buffer
(PBS) for 5 min followed by 4% PFA (paraformaldehyde) solution for
10 min. The tissue samples was quickly frozen in isopentane on dry
ice and stored at 80 1C.
The section from L4L6 of the spinal cord was dissected,
embedded in O.C.T. compound (Tissue Tek
s
, Sakura), and sliced
in 16 μm sections on a cryostat (Leica CM 3050; Leica Microsystems).
Six sections per mice from all treatment groups were mounted on
Star frost-coated slides. The slides were permeabilized for 1 h in
0.5% Triton X-100 (Sigma). After blocking in PBS containing 3%
bovine serum albumine and 10% donkey serum, the slides were
incubated for 42 h at 4 1C with primary antibody against glial
brillary acidic protein (GFAP, goat polyclonal, 1:500, Santa Cruz
Biotechnology) or ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1
(Iba1, rabbit polyclonal, 1:1000, Wako). A red uorescent Cy3
anti-goat secondary antibody (1:1000, Jackson ImmunoReasearch)
or green uorescent Alexa Fluor 488 anti-rabbit secondary antibody
(1:1000, Life Technologies) were used to visualize the signals. The
slides were mounted with Mowiol 488 (Roth).
Pictures were acquired using a Zeiss Imager M2 uorescent
microscope (Carl Zeiss Microimaging). To evaluate microgliosis and
astrogliosis after peripheral nerve injury, pictures of the Iba1 and
GFAP double stained sections were taken with the multichannel
mosaic function of the AxioVision software (Carl Zeiss Microimaging)
in the 20 magnication. The mosaics were converted to one
picture before quantitative analysis. To improve the overlay of the
mosaic pictures the stitching function of the software was used for
representative pictures. An observer, who was blind to experimen-
tal groups, analyzed four to ve animals per treatment group using
a macro routine in the Image J 1.42q software. The percentage of
stained area in the dorsal horn compared to whole area was
analyzed. Data were expressed as the difference of the ipsilateral
staining compared to the contralateral staining (% stained area
ipsilateral side% stained area contralateral side).
2.6. Quantitative real time-PCR
To analyze the expression level of CB
2
receptor gene after PNL,
TaqMan
s
gene expression assays were used. Total RNA was isolated
according to manufacturer´s instruction and RNA concentrations
were measured using a spectrophotometer (NanoDrop). mRNA was
transcribed into double-stranded cDNA using Reverse Transcriptase
II and Oligo(dt)12-18 primer (Life Technologies). For each sample
50 ng of cDNA were mixed with gene expression master mix
(containing AmpliTaq Gold
s
DNA Polymerase, Life Technologies)
and with the CB
2
gene specic assay. Expression data were then
normalized to a housekeeping gene (β-actin) and analyzed using the
2-ΔΔCt method as described previously (Livak and Schmittgen,
2001).
2.7. Tetrad test
To exclude that BCP produces the psychoactive side effects known
from CB
1
receptor agonists, the classical tetrad test was performed
(Martin et al., 1991).
Mice were tested 45 min after an acute oral administration of
BCP (1 mg kg
1
and 10 mg kg
1
) for motor activity in the open-
eld, immobility (catalepsy) on a ring, anti-nociception in the tail
ick test and the rectal temperature was measured. The control
group of mice was injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with a dose of
10 mg kg
1
THC (1:1:18 ethanol, cremophor, saline) and tested
20 min after the injection. An observer, unaware of the treatments,
recorded the values.
2.7.1.Open-eld test
To assess motor activity mice were placed in the center of an open-
eld apparatus (44 40 30 cm
3
) in a dimly illuminated (20 lux at
the ground) room and their activity was tracked by an automatic
monitoring system during 10 min (TSE Systems). Horizontal motor
activity was evaluated by calculating the total distance (m) traveled
by the animals.
2.7.2.Catalepsy
Mice were placed on a vertical tube (diameter: 5.5 cm, heights: 16 cm).
The immobility time was recorded for 5 min. Animals that fell down or
3Analgesic effect of beta-caryophyllene
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
jumped off the ring were allowed ve more trials. One animal was
excluded from the experiments after ve jumps off the ring.
2.7.3.Tail ick
Tail ick latencies were determined using a tail ick apparatus
(Columbus Instruments, OH, USA). Mice were manually restraint and
the tail was placed over a radiant heat source. We measured the
tail withdrawal latency setting the cut-off time at 12 s.
2.7.4.Rectal body temperature
We assessed the body temperature using a rectal thermometer
(BAT-12, Harvard Instruments, Millis, Massachusetts). Temperatures
were recorded before and 1 h after the drug administration. In case
of THC treatment the second measurement was performed 40 min
after the injection. Data are expressed as the difference between
the two body temperatures (ΔT=Tafter treatmentTbefore
treatment).
The results of the cannabinoid tetrad were analyzed by one-way
ANOVA or repeated measurement ANOVA (body temperature)
2.8. Statistical analysis
For all experimental results mean values and the standard error of
the means (SEM) were calculated. The statistical analysis was
carried out using Statistika 7.1 (StatSoft Inc.). In case of the
neuropathic pain experiments repeated measurements ANOVA was
used to analyze the treatment effects (categorical factors: nerve
injury and treatment. In the formalin test, repeated measurements
ANOVA was used to analyze the time course of pain reactions. For
the analysis of the BCP effect and the JWH-133 treatment, an area
under curve (AUC) was calculated and compared using factorial
ANOVA. The results of the cannabinoid tetrad were analyzed by
one-way ANOVA or repeated measurement ANOVA (body tempera-
ture). In the histological analysis of the astrocyte density the Mann-
Whitney U test was performed. In all tests the level of signicance
was set at pr0.05.
3. Results
3.1. BCP reduced inammatory pain responses in
the late phase of the formalin test
To assess the effect of oral BCP on formalin-induced pain
responses, we administered BCP by gavage 30 min before
the formalin injection. In wild type mice, BCP signicantly
altered formalin-induced pain reactions when administered
at a dose of 5 mg kg
1
(Figure 1A, F
1,34
=7.06, p=0.012). By
Figure 1 BCP signicantly decreased the pain responses in the late phase of the formalin test in CB
2
+/+
, but not CB
2
/
mice.
A Pain responses of CB
2
+/+
mice after 1 and 5 mg kg
1
BCP treatment compared to vehicle treated mice in the formalin test (vehicle
group: n=12; BCP groups: n=12). Analysis of the area under the curve (AUC) showed that late phase responses (1530 min after
formalin injection) were signicantly reduced after oral administration of 5 mg kg
1
BCP (po0.00001). (B) CB
2
/
mice did not show
any signicant changes in pain responses after 5 mg kg
1
BCP treatment compared to the vehicle group (vehicle group: n=10;
5mgkg
1
BCP group: n=10). ***, treatment effect po0.0001. Means7SEM are indicated.
A.-L. Klauke et al.4
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
analyzing the area under the curve (AUC), we found no
signicant treatment effect for the early phase (05 min), but
asignicant attenuation of pain responses during the late
phase (1530 min; F
1,34
=24.41, po0.0001). BCP at a dose of
1mgkg
1
was ineffective (Figure 1 A). The synthetic CB
2
agonist JWH-133 was also effective (F
1,34
=6.66, p=0.014) at
a relatively high dose of 10 mg kg
1
(Figure 2A). After
calculating the early and late phase AUC, JWH-133 similarly
showed a signicant analgesic effect only in the late phase
(F
1,35
=4.74, p=0.037). Both substances were completely
ineffective in CB
2
/
animals (BCP treatment: F
1,23
=0.87
p=n.s. JWH-133 treatment: F
1,14
=0.109 p=n.s.), thus indi-
cating that the antinociceptive effects are indeed mediated
by CB
2
.
To further substantiate the involvement of CB
2
receptors,
we also blocked CB
2
receptor signaling with the selective
antagonist SR 144528. The injection of SR 144528 15 min
before JWH-133 at a dose of 1 mg kg
1
(Figure 3A) blocked
JWH-133 analgesia during the late phase (F
1,28
=2.67 p=n.
s.). Interestingly, a dose of 3 mg kg
1
SR 144528 was
necessary to antagonize the analgesic effect of BCP
(Figure 3B, F
1
,
28
=3.53, p=n.s.). A dose of 1 mg kg
1
was
not effective (data not shown). The late phase AUC also did
not differ signicantly in the BCP-SR 144528 treated group
compared to the vehicle treated mice (F
1,28
=2.67, p=n.s.).
Additionally, we treated CB
2
/
mice with morphine (5 mg
kg
1
) as a reference compound, which exerts its effect
through the non-cannabinoid mopioid receptors. Morphine
signicantly reduced the animals nociceptive response
(Figure 4,F
1,21
=4.96, p=0.037). AUC analysis showed that
morphine exerted a highly signicant analgesic effect in the
early phase (F
1,21
=17.67, po0.001), but not in the late
phase (F
1,21
=3.39, p=n.s.).
3.2. Neuropathic pain symptoms are diminished
in BCP treated mice
We next measured mechanical allodynia (von Frey test) and
thermal hyperalgesia (Hargreaves test) in BCP treated
versus vehicle treated wild type mice after partial sciatic
nerve ligation, an animal model of neuropathic pain. Base-
line responses were similar in all groups for both tests.
Figure 2 JWH-133 signicantly decreased the pain responses in the formalin test in CB
2
+/+
but not CB
2
/
mice. A JWH-133
treatment (10 mg kg
1
) slightly but not signicantly decreased the pain responses in CB
2
+/+
mice compared to vehicle treated mice
in the formalin test (vehicle group: n=12; JWH-133 group: n=10). Analysis of the area under the curve (AUC) showed that late phase
responses (1530 min after formalin injection) differed signicantly between the JWH-133 and vehicle treated groups (p=0.037).
(B) CB
2
/
mice did not show any signicant changes in pain responses after 10 mg kg
1
JWH-133 treatment (vehicle group: n=10;
JWH-133 treated group: n=10). Calculation of area under the curve revealed the same results. Means7SEM are indicated.
5Analgesic effect of beta-caryophyllene
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
The partial ligation of the right sciatic nerve induced mechan-
ical allodynia (Figure 5 A, F
1,18
=387.34, po0.001) and
thermal hyperalgesia (Figure 5B, F
1,18
=20.40, po0.001) on
the ipsilateral, but not the contralateral hind paw. Sham
operated animals showed no alterations in thermal or mechan-
ical pain responses (Supplementary Figure 1).
Figure 3 Pretreatment with a selective CB
2
receptor antagonist, SR 144528 blocked the analgesic effects of both JWH-133 and BCP
in the formalin test. (A) After 1 mg kg
1
SR 144528 treatment the synthetic CB
2
receptor agonist, JWH-133 did not show any
analgesic effect in the late phase of formalin test. (B) Interestingly, the analgesic effect of BCP could be antagonized only with a
higher dose, 3 mg kg
1
of SR 144528. (JWH 133+1mgkg
1
SR 144528 treated group n=10, BCP+3mgkg
1
SR 144528 treated group
n=10). Means7SEM are indicated.
Figure 4 Morphine signicantly decreased the pain responses in the formalin test in CB
2
/
mice. 5 mg kg
1
morphine signicantly
reduced the pain reaction in the formalin test (p=0.037). AUC analysis showed that early phase responses were signicantly reduced
after morphine treatment (po0.001). (vehicle group: n=10; morphine group: n=10) ***, treatment effect po0.0001. Means7SEM
are indicated.
A.-L. Klauke et al.6
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
The animals received daily doses of BCP (0.1, 1, 5 or
10 mg kg
1
) by gavage, starting 1 day after the surgery. The
doses of 1 mg kg
1
(F
1,18
=20.66, po0.001) and 5 mg kg
1
(F
1,19
=20.47, po0.0001) BCP increased mechanical with-
drawal thresholds of ipsilateral hind paws (Figure 5A).
Treatment with 10 mg kg
1
BCP directly exhibited a robust
effect on day 3, which then persisted over the testing
period (F
1,18
=33, po0.001). In the Hargreaves test only
1mgkg
1
BCP, but not other doses, reduced thermal
hyperalgesia gradually over the 2-week testing period even
up to the basal level (F
1,18
=9.12, p=0.007; time treat-
ment: F
4,72
=2.93, p=0.026). Administration of the syn-
thetic CB
2
agonist, JWH-133 at the doses of 1 and 5 mg kg
1
signicantly increased mechanical withdrawal thresholds
(Figure 5A; 1 mg kg
1
:F
1,16
=9.59, p=0.0069; 5 mg kg
1
:
F
1,18
=30,71, po0.001), but failed to diminish thermal
hyperalgesia in the Hargreaves test (Figure 5B). These
results show that CB
2
agonists are effective in reducing
mechanical allodynia, but not thermal hyperalgesia, after
sciatic nerve injury.
3.3. BCP inhibits neuropathic pain through CB
2
receptor activation
To determine if BCP exerts its effects on the development of
neuropathic pain via CB
2
receptor activation, the experi-
ments were repeated in CB
2
/
mice (Figure 6). We have
previously shown that baseline responses of CB
2
/
mice
were similar to CB
2
+/+
animals (Racz et al., 2008). Further-
more, the sham surgery did not inuence the pain responses
to mechanical and thermal stimuli (Figure 6C and D). After
the partial nerve ligation vehicle treated CB
2
/
mice
developed mechanical allodynia (F
1,14
=25.97, po0.001)
and thermal hyperalgesia in the ipsilateral side (F
1,19
=
4.97, p=0.038) and a mirror image of mechanical hyper-
algesia in the contralateral side (F
1,14
=8.39, p=0.012) as
reported previously (Racz et al., 2008). In these mice
1mgkg
1
BCP failed to show any effects on mechanical
allodynia or thermal hyperalgesia (Figure 6A and B). Also,
BCP treatment did not inuence the responses of sham-
operated CB
2
/
mice (Figure 6C and D).
Figure 5 Effect of different doses (0.1, 1, 5 and 10 mg kg
1
) of BCP and JWH-133 (1 and 5 mg kg
1
) treatment on mechanical
allodynia and thermal withdrawal latencies in CB
2
+/+
mice. A Chronic treatment with 1, 5 and 10 mg kg
1
BCP and both doses of
JWH-133 signicantly rescued PNL induced mechanical allodynia in the ipsilateral side. (B) Chronic treatment with 1 mg kg
1
BCP
signicantly rescued PNL induced thermal hyperalgesia in the ipsilateral side, while 1 and 5 mg kg
1
JWH-133 treatment showed no
effect. The mice were tested at day 3, 6, 8, 10 and 14 after surgery. Vehicle group: n=10; 0.1 mg kg
1
BCP group: n=8; 1 mg kg
1
BCP group: n=10; 5 mg kg
1
BCP group: n=11; 10 mg kg
1
BCP group: n=10; 1 mg kg
1
JWH-133 group: n=8; 5 mg kg
1
JWH-133
group: n=10. **, treatment effect po0.01; ***, treatment effect po0.001. Means7SEM are indicated.
7Analgesic effect of beta-caryophyllene
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
3.4. BCP treatment reduces the density of spinal
cord glia cell-markers after peripheral nerve injury
Development of neuropathic pain is accompanied by the
activation and proliferation of glia cells in the spinal cord
(Scholz and Woolf, 2007). Therefore, we performed histo-
logical stainings with the microglia marker ionized calcium-
binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba1) and astrocyte marker
glial brillary acidic protein (GFAP).
The partial nerve ligation strongly increased microglia
density in the ipsilateral dorsal horns of lumbar spinal cord
sections (Figure 7A and B). Thus, the stained area in
vehicle-treated mice was signicantly larger compared to
sham operated animals (surgery effect: U=25, po0.001).
We also observed a microgliosis after BCP treatment (sur-
gery effect: U=23, po0.001), but at a signicantly lower
level when compared to vehicle controls (treatment effect:
U=164, p=0.006). The partial nerve ligation induced a
signicant increase in density of astrocytes in the ipsilateral
dorsal horn of the lumbar spinal sections compared to sham
operation (Figure 7C and D; surgery effect: U=164; p=0.003)
in vehicle controls, but not in BCP-treated animals (U=188,
p=n.s). Together, these results show that BCP treatment
prevented astrocytosis and reduced microgliosis.
3.5. PNL induced the CB
2
gene expression in the
spinal cord
To analyze the expression pattern of CB
2
receptors after PNL
and BCP treatment, we performed quantitative real-time
PCR. The partial ligation of the sciatic nerve induced an
increase in CB
2
receptor mRNA in the ipsilateral side, but
not in the contralateral side, as revealed by a signicant
interaction of surgery and side in the factorial ANOVA
(F
1,29
=4.63, p=0.03). The following Fisher-LSD post-hoc
test revealed that the expression of CB
2
in the ipsilateral
Figure 6 Chronic BCP treatment did not attenuate PNL induced mechanical allodynia (A) and thermal hyperalgesia (B) in CB
2
/
mice. Additionally to the ipsilateral side, CB
2
/
mice developed a mirror image of pain at the contralateral side after surgery (Racz
et al., 2008). Ipsilateral and contralateral hindpaws of mice were tested in the von Frey test and Hargreaves test to evaluate
mechanical allodynia (vehicle group: n=8; 1 mg kg
1
BCP group: n=9) and thermal hyperalgesia (vehicle group: n=10; 1 mg kg
1
BCP group: n=12). (C) Mechanical withdrawal thresholds of sham operated animals (vehicle group: n=8; 1 mg kg
1
BCP group:
n=11). (D) Thermal withdrawal latencies of sham operated animals (vehicle group: n=11; 1 mg kg
1
BCP group: n=14). CB
2
/
mice were tested at day 3, 6, 8, 10 and 14 after surgery. Means7SEM are indicated. B=basal responses.
A.-L. Klauke et al.8
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
side was signicantly increased compared to ipsilateral
sham values (Figure 8;p=0.0096). BCP treatment did not
inuenced the CB
2
receptor expression (treatment: F
1,29
=
1.51; p=n.s).
3.6. Absence of psychoactive effects after BCP
treatment
To determine if BCP exerts acute psychomimetic effects
similar to CB
1
receptor agonists, we tested BCP-treated mice
in the classical cannabinoid tetrad of tests (Figure 9). Oral
administration of 1 and 10 mg kg
1
BCP did not produce any
signicant changes in the open-eld activity (F
2,20
=0.59,
p=n.s.) or body temperature (F
2,20
=1.3, p=n.s). It also
produced no ring catalepsy (F
2,20
=1.14, p=n.s.) and had no
analgesic effect in the tail ick test (F
2,20
=0.33, p=n.s.). In
contrast, our reference compound Δ
9
-THC elicited the typical
cannabinoid-induced hypomotility (F
1,11
=29.03, po0.001),
catalepsy (F
1,11
=24.13, po0.001) and hypothermia (F
1,10
=
54.7, p40.0001), although tail ick analgesia just failed to
reach signicance (F
1,11
=4.51, p=0.057; data not shown).
4. Discussion
Here we demonstrate that the phytocannabinoid BCP, admi-
nistered orally, exerts analgesic effects in animal models of
inammatory and neuropathic pain. The effects were absent
in CB
2
/
mice and blocked by the CB
2
antagonist SR 144528.
They were thus dependent on CB
2
receptor signaling. To our
knowledge, this is the rst demonstration that a common food
ingredient is highly effective in animal models of chronic pain
at physiologically relevant doses.
The plant volatile and food additive BCP is a selective
natural CB
2
receptor agonist with no signicant afnity for CB
1
receptors (Gertsch et al., 2008,2010)AcuteBCPtreatment
signicantly reduced carrageenan-induced edema formation,
Figure 7 Chronic treatment with 1 mg kg
1
BCP reduced the density of microglia and astrocytes in the dorsal horn of spinal cord.
Representative pictures of the Iba1 (A) and GFAP (C) immunostaining in the ipsilateral dorsal horns of the lumbal spinal cord sections
recorded with the 20 magnication objective. Quantitative analysis revealed a reduction of microglia (B) and astrocyte (D) signals
in the ipsilateral dorsal horn after 2 weeks of 1 mg kg
1
BCP treatment (n=45 per group). **, treatment effect po0.01; ***, surgery
effect po0.001. Means7SEM are indicated.
9Analgesic effect of beta-caryophyllene
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
demonstrating that BCP is able to suppress inammation via
activation of CB
2
receptors. Our present results show that BCP
is also efcacious in another inammatory pain model, the
formalin test, which is considered as a model of central pain
sensitization (Beltramo et al., 2006). BCP had an analgesic
effect in the late phase of formalin test after acute treat-
ment. Anti-inammatory and analgesic effects were similarly
reported for other synthetic CB
2
receptor agonists like
GW405833 (Claytonetal.,2002) and AM1241(Beltramo
et al., 2006) AM1241 also produced analgesia in different
chemical-induced (capsaicin, formalin) pain models and sub-
stance P-induced extravasation, when treated locally or
systemically (Hohmann et al., 2004;Ibrahim et al., 2003).
The CB
2
-selective agonist O-3223 reduced inammatory and
neuropathic pain without any CB
1
-dependent psychomimetic
side effect (Kinsey et al., 2011). Our reference compound
JWH-133 is a highly selective synthetic CB
2
agonist with full
efcacy on rodent CB
2
receptor (Beltramo, 2009). However,
there are several discrepancies in the literature considering its
anti-inammatory effect, which may depend on its poor
bioavailability and overall pharmacokinetic properties. In this
study, JWH-133, injected subcutaneously at a relatively high
dose presented a signicant analgesic effect in the formalin
test during the 30 min observation period. This effect was
restricted to the late phase and could be reversed by
treatment of CB
2
receptor antagonist, SR 144528. Similar
effects were observed with BCP, which in our hands showed
a very pronounced analgesic effect and interestingly, we also
needed higher SR 144528 concentration to antagonize the BCP
effect than in case of our reference compound, JWH-133. A
possible explanation could be that a natural agonist has a
higher afnity to the CB
2
receptorsandmightimprovethe
efciency of CB
2
signaling (Shoemaker et al., 2005). We
suppose that reduction of inammatory processes by BCP
and other CB
2
agonists directly contribute to their anti-
nociceptive effects in different inammatory pain models.
Neuropathic pain produces similar symptoms of hyper-
algesia, allodynia, and spontaneous pain as peripheral tissue
inammation, but the underlying pathological processes are
induced by nerve injury (Devor, 2006). Pharmacotherapies
for neuropathic pain using morphine, THC, or a combination
Figure 9 Treatment with BCP did not elicit psychoactive side effects in CB
2
+/+
mice. Mice were tested 45 min after an acute oral
administration of 1 and 10 mg kg
1
BCP or vehicle (olive oil) in the classical cannabinoid tetrad for motor activity in the open-eld,
immobility on a ring (catalepsy), anti-nociception in the tail ick test and hypothermia (n=78 per group). Means +SEM are
indicated.
Figure 8 PNL induced a signicant up-regulation of the CB
2
mRNA level. Expression of the CB
2
receptor gene was deter-
mined by quantitative RT-PCR in the lumbar spinal cord dorsal
horn. CB
2
expression increased in the ipsilateral side after PNL,
but was not affected by BCP treatment. **, PNL effect
p=0.0096, n=45 per group, means+SEM are indicated.
A.-L. Klauke et al.10
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
of THC and cannabidiol (Sativex) produce inadequate pain
relief and at higher doses they have unwanted psychoactive
side effects (Berman et al., 2004;Naef et al., 2003). It is
now well-documented that peripherally expressed CB
2
receptors play an important role in the development of
neuropathic pain and can be targeted to reduce chronic
pain associated with nerve injury (Beltramo, 2009;Guindon
and Hohmann, 2008). Our data demonstrate that chronic
BCP treatment reduces mechanical allodynia and thermal
hyperalgesia in a model of neuropathic pain. Importantly,
we found no signs of tolerance during the 2-week adminis-
tration period. On the contrary, the BCP effect became
stronger during the treatment period. As reported for other
CB
2
agonists (Kinsey et al., 2011;Rahn et al., 2011), BCP did
not induce any of the CB
1
receptor-specic psychomimetic
responses, like hypomotility, catalepsy, hypothermia, or tail
ick analgesia.
The synthetic CB
2
selective agonists NESS400, AM1241 and
GW405833 dose-dependently attenuated tactile and thermal
hypersensitivity produced by spinal nerve ligation and a
spared nerve injury model (Beltramo et al., 2006;Ibrahim
et al., 2003). Similar to our results, NESS400 diminished the
nerve injury induced inammatory processes in the spinal
projection area, like microglia and astroglia activation,
further increased expression of anti-inammatory interleukin
(IL)-10 and reduced expression of IL-1ß and interferon (IFN)-γ
(Luongo et al., 2010). Intrathecal administration of JWH-133
reversed partial sciatic nerve ligation-induced mechanical
allodynia and this effect was completely abolished in CB
2
/
animals (Yamamoto et al., 2008). Together these ndings
clearly demonstrated that CB
2
receptor activation alone is
sufcient for attenuation the neuropathic pain symptoms and
suggest a role of spinal CB
2
receptors for amelioration the
neuropathic pain symptoms.
Microglia are thought to initiate the neuropathic pain
processes by the release of proinammatory chemokines
and cytokines that in turn activates astrocytes and leads to
further microglia activation (Tanga et al., 2004). In an
earlier study we could show that CB
2
activation decreases
spinal microglia and astrocyte activation in the spinal cord
after nerve injury (Racz et al., 2008). Latest studies have
shown that in the neuropathic pain processes, microglia
activation decreases to baseline after three weeks, though
astrocytes activation and hypersensitivity remains (Hald
et al., 2009;Tanga et al., 2004). In contrast, CB
2
/
mice
showed an exaggerated glial response that spread to the
contralateral dorsal horn (Racz et al., 2008). BCP treatment
now reduced expression of microglia and astrocytes markers
in the dorsal horn of lumbar spinal cord, which is in line with
the reduced hypersensitivity detected in the behavioral
tests. These ndings support our hypothesis that BCP exerts
its anti-inammatory properties through attenuation of the
spinal glia activation. It was previously shown that BCP
inhibits TH1 cytokines in LPS stimulated whole blood
18
.
For thermal hyperalgesia, a low dose of BCP, 1 mg kg
1
was
more efcacious than higher doses, thus probably reecting a
bell shaped dose-response curve, which is commonly observed
with cannabinoid receptor agonists (Calabrese, 2008;Malfait
et al., 2000;Sulcova et al., 1998). The mechanisms underlying
this phenomenon are still not claried.Itispossiblethatdose-
dependent changes in receptor occupation result in a differ-
ential activation of intracellular signaling cascades and thus in
distinct physiological outcomes (Beltramo et al., 2006;Sulcova
et al., 1998). Indeed, there is evidence that 2-AG induced ERK-
MAPK phosphorylation with low ED
50
, stimulated Ca
2+
transi-
ents with a higher ED
50
, and inhibited adenylate cyclase with
highest ED
50
(Shoemaker et al., 2005).Mechanical hyperalgesia,
which is clinically more relevant, did not show such a pro-
nounced dose dependency. It is thus conceivable that thermal
hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia, which are mediated by
different nociceptive neurons, are differently affected by CB
2
agonism.
BCP is the rst natural CB
2
receptor agonist, which could
orally reduce inammatory responses in different animal
models of pain. Recently it was shown that BCP inhibits
colon inammation and protects from cisplatin-induced
nephrotoxicity via CB
2
receptors (Bento et al., 2011). An
important question to be considered now is whether or not
this dose is relevant to humans? It has been suggested to
calculate the human dose equivalent based on normal-
ization of the body surface areas (Reagan-Shaw et al.,
2008), which means that an effective dose in mice has to
be divided by 12.3 in order to estimate the human
equivalent dose of a 60 kg adult. Thus, a human daily dose
of 0.080.41 mg/kg BCP would correspond to the optimal
dose in mice. We have previously estimated an average
daily BCP intake in the range of 10200 mg, which corre-
sponds to a dose of 0.163.3 mg/kg for a 60 kg human. This
dose would certainly be sufcient for signicant CB
2
canna-
binoid receptor activation. Thus, it is likely that BCP belongs
to a group of common plant natural products with major
potential impact on human health. The oral intake of this
dietary cannabinoid with vegetable food could be advanta-
geous in the daily routine clinical practice over synthetic
cannabinoid agonists.
Role of funding source
This work was supported by Grants from the Bundesministerium für
Forschung und Lehre (NGFN2 FKZ 01GS0853) and the Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschaft (FOR926). The sponsors had no further role
in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of
data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the
paper for publication.
Contributors
IR and AZ designed the experiments. AK, IR and AZ drafted the
manuscript. AK and IR performed the experiments and the data
analysis. AM and BP contributed to the experiments. AK and AMZ
performed tetrad test. JG provided the BCP and read critically the
manuscript. All authors contributed to and have approved the nal
manuscript.
Conict of interest
The authors declare no conict of interest.
Acknowledgments
We thank Eva Drews for critically reading the manuscript.
11Analgesic effect of beta-caryophyllene
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
Appendix A. Supplementary material
Supplementary data associated with this article can be
found in the online version at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/
j.euroneuro.2013.10.008.
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13Analgesic effect of beta-caryophyllene
Please cite this article as: Klauke, A.-L., et al., The cannabinoid CB
2
receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts
analgesic effects in mouse models of.... European Neuropsychopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008
... In addition, since CB2R is primarily expressed in immune cells and relative paucity in neurons, the advantageous profile of CB2R agonists devoid of centrally CB1R-mediated negative side effects suggests that CB2R may represent an attractive target for alleviating pain [6,7]. A large number of CB2R selective agonists such as JWH-133, JWH-015, AM1241, and GW405833 have been demonstrated to exert significant antinociception in various preclinical pain model, including inflammatory pain [8,9], postoperative pain [10], neuropathic pain [8,9,[11][12][13][14], and bone cancer pain [15,16], without eliciting tolerance [8,17], hypoactivity [18], hypothermia [18,19], catalepsy [19], psychotropic effects and physical dependence [20][21][22]. Therefore, amounts of research efforts focused on the discovery and optimization of synthetic high-affinity CB2R agonists to promote selective binding to the CB2R are ongoing, such as the acyl hydrazone derivative MDA7, a more promising CB2R agonist for severe pain therapy [23][24][25][26]. ...
... In addition, since CB2R is primarily expressed in immune cells and relative paucity in neurons, the advantageous profile of CB2R agonists devoid of centrally CB1R-mediated negative side effects suggests that CB2R may represent an attractive target for alleviating pain [6,7]. A large number of CB2R selective agonists such as JWH-133, JWH-015, AM1241, and GW405833 have been demonstrated to exert significant antinociception in various preclinical pain model, including inflammatory pain [8,9], postoperative pain [10], neuropathic pain [8,9,[11][12][13][14], and bone cancer pain [15,16], without eliciting tolerance [8,17], hypoactivity [18], hypothermia [18,19], catalepsy [19], psychotropic effects and physical dependence [20][21][22]. Therefore, amounts of research efforts focused on the discovery and optimization of synthetic high-affinity CB2R agonists to promote selective binding to the CB2R are ongoing, such as the acyl hydrazone derivative MDA7, a more promising CB2R agonist for severe pain therapy [23][24][25][26]. ...
... In addition, since CB2R is primarily expressed in immune cells and relative paucity in neurons, the advantageous profile of CB2R agonists devoid of centrally CB1R-mediated negative side effects suggests that CB2R may represent an attractive target for alleviating pain [6,7]. A large number of CB2R selective agonists such as JWH-133, JWH-015, AM1241, and GW405833 have been demonstrated to exert significant antinociception in various preclinical pain model, including inflammatory pain [8,9], postoperative pain [10], neuropathic pain [8,9,[11][12][13][14], and bone cancer pain [15,16], without eliciting tolerance [8,17], hypoactivity [18], hypothermia [18,19], catalepsy [19], psychotropic effects and physical dependence [20][21][22]. Therefore, amounts of research efforts focused on the discovery and optimization of synthetic high-affinity CB2R agonists to promote selective binding to the CB2R are ongoing, such as the acyl hydrazone derivative MDA7, a more promising CB2R agonist for severe pain therapy [23][24][25][26]. ...
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Pain, especially chronic pain, can strongly affect patients’ quality of life. Cannabinoids ponhave been reported to produce potent analgesic effects in different preclinical pain models, where they primarily function as agonists of Gi/o protein-coupled cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are abundantly expressed in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central activation of CB1 receptors is strongly associated with psychotropic adverse effects, thus largely limiting its therapeutic potential. However, the CB2 receptors are promising targets for pain treatment without psychotropic adverse effects, as they are primarily expressed in immune cells. Additionally, as the resident immune cells in the central nervous system, microglia are increasingly recognized as critical players in chronic pain. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that the expression of CB2 receptors is significantly increased in activated microglia in the spinal cord, which exerts protective consequences within the surrounding neural circuitry by regulating the activity and function of microglia. In this review, we focused on recent advances in understanding the role of microglial CB2 receptors in spinal nociceptive circuitry, highlighting the mechanism of CB2 receptors in modulating microglia function and its implications for CB2 receptor- selective agonist-mediated analgesia.
... In chronic NP animal models, the administration of CAR reduced hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in a dose-dependent manner (Segat et al., 2017). The treatment with CAR also reduces microglial activation in the spinal dorsal horn, probably due to the increased expression of CB2 receptor-mediated by CAR (Klauke et al., 2014). Furthermore, an indicator that cannabinoid receptor modulation could be a valid analgesic strategy is the higher density of cannabinoid receptors in the spinal cord relative to opioid receptors. ...
... in the induction of analgesia (Fidyt et al., 2016). In 2014, Klauke et al. have demonstrated that chronic administration of CAR attenuated thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia, reducing spinal neuroinflammation (Klauke et al., 2014). Moreover, CB2 receptors have been found to be overexpressed in peripheral mononeuropathies in the ipsilateral side of the spinal cord, compared to the contralateral side, highlighting an important role of these receptors in modulating the response to a neuropathy (Luongo et al., 2010). ...
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Neuropathic pain (NP) is a chronic disease that affects the normal quality of life of patients. To date, the therapies available are only symptomatic and they are unable to reduce the progression of the disease. Many studies reported the efficacy of Cannabis sativa L. (C. sativa) on NP, but no Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9‐THC)‐free extracts have been investigated in detail for this activity so far. The principal aim of this work is to investigate the potential pain‐relieving effect of innovative cannabidiol‐rich non‐psychotropic C. sativa oils, with a high content of terpenes (K2), compared to the same extract devoid of terpenes (K1). Oral administration of K2 (25 mg kg−1) induced a rapid and long‐lasting relief of pain hypersensitivity in a mice model of peripheral neuropathy. In spinal cord samples, K2 reduced mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPKs) levels and neuroinflammatory factors. These effects were reverted by the administration of a CB2 antagonist (AM630), but not by a CB1 antagonist (AM251). Conversely, K1 showed a lower efficacy in the absence of CB1/CB2‐mediated mechanisms. In LPS‐stimulated murine microglial cells (BV2), K2 reduced microglia pro‐inflammatory phenotype through the downregulation of histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC‐1) and nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B‐cells inhibitor (IKBα) and increased interleukin‐10 (IL‐10) expression, an important antiinflammatory cytokine. In conclusion, these results suggested that K2 oral administration attenuated NP symptoms by reducing spinal neuroinflammation and underline the important role of the synergism between cannabinoids and terpenes.
... Treatment of such complex pain with one or a combination of two analgesics at the most is typical, although generally inadequate (4,5) It seems prudent to make use of endogenous repair and homeostasis mechanisms, already available in the body. Cannabinoids, classified as endogenously produced and locally acting autacoids, are scientifically recognized as natural anti-inflammatory compounds with superior efficacy versus NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that decrease pain (6) and lower fever. In higher doses Cannabanoids decrease pain but without well-known negative side effects of long-term use. ...
... Opioid-induced glial activation and its pro-inflammatory consequences are regarded as factors for failure of analgesia as well as a pathogenetic base for the emergence of opioid tolerance (15,16). In all of these cases analgesics negatively interfere with endogenous autacoid repair and anti-inflammatory processes (6). New inroads in the treatment of chronic pain via the autacoids seems like a promising way of identifying new analgesic compounds, acting via endogenous healing mechanisms. ...
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The resolution of inflammation is an active process controlled by endogenous mediators with selective actions on neutrophils and monocytes.The initial phase of the acute inflammatory response is characterized by the production of pro-inflammatory mediators followed by a second phase in which lipid mediators with pro-resolution activities may be generated. Failure to resolve inflammatory debris is, among other issues, associated with chronic inflammation. Current approaches to pain management do not address resolving chronic inflammation, nor injury repair. Widespread use ofNSAIDs, for example, inhibit autocoids and further complicate resolution. Novel approaches involving redundancy of multimodal alternative pathways simultaneously involved in the pain process, are logically justifiable.
... It was approved by US FDA as additive and flavour in food because of its spicy odour and low toxicity (Adams et al., 2011). Experiments have shown that oral administration of BCP reduced pain caused by high temperature, elicited neuroprotection, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective as well as antioxidant effects in rat (Fernandes et al., 2007;Calleja et al., 2013;Klauke et al., 2014;Hayate et al., 2016). The 2H-1-Benzopyran, 7-methoxy-2,2-dimethyl-is also known as Precocene 1 (Halpin et al., 1984), It has been implicated in hepatic damage causing a time and dose dependent depletion of liver glutathione (GSH) activity (Halpin et al., 1984). ...
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This study was designed to investigate the phytochemical composition and protective effects of methanol extract of Parquetina nigrescens leaf (MEPL) in male Wistar rats. Phytochemical screening, in vitro antioxidant assay, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and LD50 were determined. Forty male Wistar rats were grouped into eight and orally treated for 54 days as follows: Group 1 (10% tween 80), Group 2 (3 mg/kg As2O3) Groups 3, 4 and 5 (250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg MEPL) and groups 6, 7 and 8, (250 mg/kg+As2O3, 500 mg/kg+As2O3 and 1000 mg/kg+As2O3). The animals were sacrificed on day 55 under anaesthesia. Blood was collected by cardiac puncture for heamatological studies. Liver concentrations of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine amino transferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities were determined spectrophotometrically. Liver histology was also assessed. Flavonoids, tannin, alkaloids, saponin, and anthraquinone were present in MEPL, also, MEPL scavenged 2,2 diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl hydrate (DPPH) and Azino-bis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid radical (ABTS+). The IC50 of MEPL required to chelate metal was also low. The GC-MS revealed the presence of 24 essential oil. The LD50 was > 5000 mg/kg. Packed cell volume and red blood cell count were significantly reduced in 1000 mg/kg MEPL group, white blood cell count and SOD activity reduced (P<0.05) in 3 mg/kg As2O3 when compared with control but increased in groups co-treated with As2O3 and 250, 500 or 1000 mg/kg + As2O3. MDA concentration, AST, ALT and ALP activities increased significantly in 3 mg/kg As2O3 group but decreased (P<0.05) in groups co-treated with As2O3 and 250, 500 or 1000 mg/kg. The methanol extract of Parquetina nigrescens leaf in male Wistar rats has antioxidant, hepatoprotective and white blood cell protective effects.
... Pharmacological studies have highlighted the role of BCP as a modulator of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). BCP is a selective agonist of the subtype 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2), thus avoiding the undesirable psychoactive effects linked to CB1 receptor modulation [9,10]. In addition, BCP administered intraperitoneally had an anticonvulsant effect in seizures caused by pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) and maximal electroshock [7,10]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Intranasal delivery systems have been proposed as alternative routes for drug delivery to the brain, primarily for treating diseases that affect the central nervous system. β-Caryophyllene (BCP) is a naturally occurring agonist of CB2 cannabinoid receptors and has anticonvulsant potential but limited oral bioavailability. Thus, considering that developing a cationic nanoemulsion containing BCP (BCP-NE) may be useful in intranasal (i.n.) delivery, this study aimed to develop and characterise BCP-NE and its putative anticonvulsant effect via the i.n. route in rats using the pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced seizure model. BCP-NE was prepared by spontaneous emulsification. The oil phase consisted of BCP (40 mg mL⁻¹), lecithin (20 mg), oleylamine (0.5 mM) and an aqueous phase of water and glycerin. Physicochemical and morphological characterisation and the content and encapsulation efficiency of BCP were determined in the BCP-NE. Physical stability was evaluated at room temperature, refrigeration and oven. The anticonvulsant potential of BCP-NE was evaluated in vivo. The BCP-NE showed a droplet size of 244.03 ± 15.67 nm with a polydispersity index of 0.18 ± 0.04 and a zeta potential of 41.1 ± 1.57 mV. The BCP trapping efficiency was 98% at a BPC content of 40 mg mL⁻¹. The NE-BCP presented stable conditions evaluated in one month. Importantly, in vivo analysis demonstrated that i.n. administration of BCP-NE delayed the onset of tonic-clonic seizures. Altogether, these results demonstrate that BCP-NE administered via the i.n. pathway has anticonvulsant potential, indicating that the developed system offers favourable intranasal delivery of BCP. Graphical abstract
... The higher antioxidant activity detected in LaCC EO (IC50 26.26 mg/mL) could be related to the synergistic property associated with the minor components in the mixture, as reported in the literature [48][49][50]. LaCC EOs, along with linalool, linalyl acetate and lavandulyl acetate as the major components, contain several minor terpenoids, such as E-caryophyllene, which possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties [51]. Ruberto et al. [52] tested about 100 pure compounds present in EO for their antioxidant effectiveness. ...
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Lavandula angustifolia L., known as lavender, is an economically important Lamiaceae due to the production of essential oils (EOs) for the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and medical industries. The purpose of this study was to determine the chemical composition of EOs isolated from four inflorescences of L. angustifolia L. collected in different geographical areas: central-southern Italy (LaCC, LaPE, LaPS) and southern France (LaPRV). The essential oils, obtained by steam distillation from plants at the full flowering stage, were analyzed using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). More than 70 components identified in each sample showed significant variability among the main constituents. The four EOs analyzed contained the following as main component: linalool (from 30.02% to 39.73%), borneol (13.65% in LaPE and 16.83% in La PS), linalyl acetate (24.34% in LaCC and 31.07% in LaPRV). The EOs were also evaluated for their in vitro antifungal activity against two white rot fungi (Phanerochaete chrysosporium and Trametes cingulata) as potential natural biodeteriogens in the artworks field, and against Sclerotium rolfsii, Botrytis cinerea and Fusarium verticilloides responsible for significant crop yield losses in tropical and subtropical areas. The results confirm a concentration-dependent toxicity pattern, where the fungal species show different sensitivity to the four EOs. The in vitro antioxidant activity by DPPH assay showed better scavenging activity on LaCC (IC50 26.26 mg/mL) and LaPRV (IC50 33.53 mg/mL), followed by LaPE (IC50 48.00 mg/mL) and LaPS (IC50 49.63 mg/mL). The potential application of EOs as a green method to control biodeterioration phenomena on a work of art on wood timber dated 1876 was evaluated.
... BCP was determined to be a natural selective CB 2 receptor agonist [12]. It has several beneficial effects such as analgesia and anti-inflammation [10,[12][13][14][15][16][17]. ...
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Cannabis contains over 500 distinct compounds, which include cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids. However, very few of these compounds have been studied for their beneficial effects. There is an emerging concept that the constituents of the cannabis plant may work in concert to achieve better therapeutic benefits. This study is aimed at determining if the combination of a minor cannabinoid (cannabidiol, CBD) and a terpene (beta-caryophyllene, BCP) works in concert and if this has any therapeutic value. We used an inflammatory pain model (formalin) in mice to test for any functionality of CBD and BCP in combination. First, we determined the analgesic effect of CBD and BCP individually by establishing dose-response studies. Second, we tested the analgesic effect of fixed-ratio combinations and monitored any adverse effects. Finally, we determined the effect of this combination on inflammation. The combination of CBD and BCP produces a synergistic analgesic effect. This effect was without the cannabinoid receptor-1 side effects. The analgesic effect of CBD and BCP in combination involves an inflammatory mechanism. The combination of these two constituents of the cannabis plant, CBD and BCP, works in concert to produce a therapeutic effect with safety profiles through an inflammatory mechanism.
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Eugenia pohliana (Myrtaceae) is used in folk medicine by communities in Brazil. However, there are no reports on its biological activity. This is the first to identify the components of E. pohliana essential oil (EpEO) and evaluate their antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities in an in vivo model at doses of 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg. The essential oil (EO) was obtained by hydrodistillation, and the analysis was performed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Antinociceptive activity was evaluated by writhing tests, tail movement, and formalin (neurogenic and inflammatory pain); naloxone was used to determine the nociception mechanism. Anti-inflammatory activity was assessed by edema and peritonitis tests. We found that (E)-β-caryophyllene (BCP) (15.56%), δ-cadinene (11.24%) and α-cadinol (10.89%) were the major components. In the writhing test, there was a decrease in writhing by 42.95–70.70%, in the tail movement, an increase in latency time by 69.12–86.63%, and in the formalin test, there was a reduction in pain neurogenic by 29.54–61.74%, and inflammatory pain by 37.42–64.87%. The antinociceptive effect of EpEO occurs through the activation of opioid receptors. In addition to antinociceptive activity and mechanism, a reduction in inflammation by 74.93‒81.41% was observed in the paw edema test and inhibition of the influx of leukocytes by 51.86‒70.38% and neutrophils by 37.74‒54.72% in the peritonitis test. It was concluded that EpEO has antinociceptive pharmacological properties with opioid and anti-inflammatory actions, and that its use does not cause hemolytic damage or behavioral change.
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Gulf War Illness (GWI) has been reported in 25%–35% of veterans returned from the Gulf war. Symptoms of GWI are varied and include both neurological and gastrointestinal symptoms as well as chronic fatigue. Development of GWI has been associated with chemical exposure particularly with exposure to pyridostigmine bromide (PB) and permethrin. Recent studies have found that the pathology of GWI is connected to changes in the gut microbiota, that is the gut dysbiosis. In studies using animal models, the exposure to PB and permethrin resulted in similar changes in the gut microbiome as these found in GW veterans with GWI. Studies using animal models have also shown that phytochemicals like curcumin are beneficial in reducing the symptoms and that the extracellular vesicles (EV) released from gut bacteria and from the intestinal epithelium can both promote diseases and suppress diseases through the intercellular communication mechanisms. The intestinal epithelium cells produce EVs and these EVs of intestinal epithelium origin are found to suppress inflammatory bowel disease severity, suggesting the benefits of utilizing EV in treatments. On the contrary, EV from the plasma of septic mice enhanced the level of proinflammatory cytokines in vitro and neutrophils and macrophages in vivo, suggesting differences in the EV depending on the types of cells they were originated and/or influences of environmental changes. These studies suggest that targeting the EV that specifically have positive influences may become a new therapeutic strategy in the treatment of veterans with GWI.
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Plant-based whole foods provide thousands of bioactive metabolites to the human diet that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. β-Caryophyllene (CAR) is a common constituent of the essential oil of numerous plants, vegetables, fruits and medicinal herbs, and has been used as a flavouring agent since the 1930 s. Here, we report the antioxidant activity of CAR, its protective effect on liver fibrosis and its inhibitory capacity on hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation. CAR was tested for the inhibition of lipid peroxidation and as a free radical scavenger. CAR had higher inhibitory capacity on lipid peroxidation than probucol, α-humulene and α-tocopherol. Also, CAR showed high scavenging activities against hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion. The activity of 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that actively participates in fibrogenesis, was significantly inhibited by CAR. Carbon tetrachloride-treated rats received CAR at 2, 20 and 200 mg/kg. CAR significantly improved liver structure, and reduced fibrosis and the expression of Col1a1, Tgfb1 and Timp1 genes. Oxidative stress was used to establish a model of HSC activation with overproduction of extracellular matrix proteins. CAR (1 and 10 μm) increased cell viability and significantly reduced the expression of fibrotic marker genes. CAR, a sesquiterpene present in numerous plants and foods, is as a natural antioxidant that reduces carbon tetrachloride-mediated liver fibrosis and inhibits hepatic cell activation.
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Spiranthera odoratissima A. St. Hil. (manacá) is used in folk medicine to treat renal and hepatic diseases, stomachache, headaches and rheumatism. A central nervous system (CNS) depressant effect of the hexane fraction from the ethanolic extract of this plant has been described. β-caryophyllene, the main component of this essential oil, is a sesquiterpene compound with anti-inflammatory properties that has been found in essential oils derived from several medicinal plants. This work is aimed to evaluate the pharmacological activity of the essential oil obtained from S. odoratissima leaves (EO) and its major component on the murine CNS; we aimed to evaluate a possible anxiolytic-like effect and the underlying mechanisms involved. In an open field test, EO (500 mg/kg) and β-caryophyllene (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg) increased the crossing frequency (P<0.05) and, EO (250 and 500 mg/kg) and β-caryophyllene (200 mg/kg) increased the time spent in the center (P<0.05) without altering total crossings of the open field. EO and β-caryophyllene did not alter the number of falls in the rota-rod test (P>0.05). In the pentobarbital-induced sleep test, EO (500 mg/kg) and β-caryophyllene (200 and 400 mg/kg) decreased the latency to sleep (P<0.05), and EO (125, 250 and 500 mg/kg) (P<0.001) and β-caryophyllene (200 and 400 mg/kg) (P<0.05 and P<0.001) increased the sleep time. In anxiety tests, EO (500 mg/kg) and β-caryophyllene (100 and 200 mg/kg) increased head-dipping behavior (P<0.05) in the hole-board test, entries (P<0.05) into and time spent (P<0.05) on the open arms of the elevated plus maze (EPM), and number of transitions (P<0.05) and time spent in the light compartment (P<0.05) of a light-dark box (LDB). We further investigated the mechanism of action underlying the anxiolytic-like effect of EO and β-caryophyllene by pre-treating animals with antagonists of benzodiazepine (flumazenil) and 5-HT(1A) (NAN-190) receptors prior to evaluation using EPM and LDB. The anxiolytic-like effects of EO were significantly reduced by pre-treatment with NAN-190 (P<0.05) but not flumazenil (P>0.05). The anxiolytic-like effects of β-caryophyllene were not blocked by either NAN-190 or flumazenil (P>0.05). In conclusion, these results suggest that the essential oil derived from S. odoratissima produces an anxiolytic-like effect without altering motor performance and that this effect is mediated by 5-HT(1A) but not via benzodiazepine receptors. In addition, the major component, β-caryophyllene, also has an anxiolytic-like effect that may contribute to the effects of EO, but this effect does not seem to be mediated via 5-HT(1A) or benzodiazepine receptors.
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