The cannabinoid receptor agonist, WIN 55, 212-2, attenuates tumor-evoked hyperalgesia through peripheral mechanisms

Carl Potenzieri, Catherine A Harding-Rose, Donald A Simone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Several lines of evidence suggest that cannabinoids can attenuate various types of pain and hyperalgesia through peripheral mechanisms. The development of rodent cancer pain models has provided the opportunity to investigate novel approaches to treat this common form of pain. In the present study, we examined the ability of peripherally administered cannabinoids to attenuate tumor-evoked mechanical hyperalgesia in a murine model of cancer pain. Unilateral injection of osteolytic fibrosarcoma cells into and around the calcaneus bone resulted in tumor formation and mechanical hyperalgesia in the injected hindpaw. Mechanical hyperalgesia was defined as an increase in the frequency of paw withdrawals to a suprathreshold von Frey filament (3.4 mN) applied to the plantar surface of the hindpaw. WIN 55, 212-2 (1.5 to 10 μg) injected subcutaneously into the tumor-bearing hindpaw produced a dose-dependent decrease in paw withdrawal frequencies to suprathreshold von Frey filament stimulation. Injection of WIN 55,212-2 (10 μg) into the contralateral hindpaw did not decrease paw withdrawal frequencies in the tumor-bearing hindpaw. Injection of the highest antihyperalgesic dose of WIN 55,212-2 (10 μg) did not produce catalepsy as determined by the bar test. Co-administration of WIN 55,212-2 with either cannabinoid 1 (AM251) or cannabinoid 2 (AM630) receptor antagonists attenuated the antihyperalgesic effects of WIN 55, 212-2. In conclusion, peripherally administered WIN 55,212-2 attenuated tumor-evoked mechanical hyperalgesia by activation of both peripheral cannabinoid 1 and cannabinoid 2 receptors. These results suggest that peripherally-administered cannabinoids may be effective in attenuating cancer pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Jun 18 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (CA91007 and DA011471 to D.A.S) and the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation. C.P was supported by training grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (5T32-DA007234). The authors thank Dr. Thaddeus S. Brink for critically reading an early version of this paper.


  • Cancer pain
  • Cannabinoids
  • Hyperalgesia
  • WIN 55, 212-2


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