Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is an intense and debilitating orofacial pain. The gold standard treatment for TN is carbamazepine. This antiepileptic drug provides pain relief with limited efficacy and side effects. To study the antinociceptive potential of cannabidiol (CBD) and its fluorinated analog PECS-101 (former HUF-101), we induced unilateral chronic constriction injury of the infraorbital nerve (IoN-CCI) in male Wistar rats. Seven days of treatment with CBD (30 mg/kg), PECS-101 (3, 10, and 30 mg/kg), or carbamazepine (10 and 30 mg/kg) reduced allodynia and hyperalgesia responses. Unlike carbamazepine, CBD and PECS-101 did not impair motor activity. The relief of the hypersensitive reactions has been associated with transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) modulation in the trigeminal spinal nucleus. CBD (30 mg/kg) and PECS-101 (10 and 30 mg/kg) reversed the increased expression of TRPV1 induced by IoN-CCI in this nucleus. Using a pharmacological strategy, the combination of the selective TRPV1 antagonist (capsazepine-CPZ – 5 mg/kg) with sub-effective doses of CBD (3 and 10 mg/kg) is also able to reverse the IoN-CCI-induced allodynia and hyperalgesia responses. This effect was accompanied by reduced TRPV1 protein expression in the trigeminal spinal nucleus. Our results suggest that CBD and PECS-101 may benefit trigeminal neuralgia without motor coordination impairments. PECS-101 is more potent against the hypernociceptive and motor impairment induced by TN compared to CBD and carbamazepine. The antinociceptive effect of these cannabinoids is partially mediated by TRPV1 receptors in the caudal part of the trigeminal spinal nucleus, the first central station of orofacial pain processing.

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