A cannabinoid agonist differentially attenuates deep tissue hyperalgesia in animal models of cancer and inflammatory muscle pain

Lois J. Kehl, Darryl T. Hamamoto, Paul W. Wacnik, Devin L. Croft, Blake D. Norsted, George L. Wilcox, Donald A. Simone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Pain associated with cancer and chronic musculoskeletal disorders can be difficult to control. We used murine models of cancer and inflammatory muscle pain to examine whether the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 reduces hyperalgesia originating in deep tissues. C3H/He mice were anesthetized and implanted with osteolytic NCTC clone 2472 cells into the humeri or injected with 4% carrageenan into the triceps muscles of both forelimbs. At the time of peak hyperalgesia, WIN55,212-2 (1-30mg/kg) or vehicle was administered intraperitoneally and forelimb grip force was measured 0.5-24h later. WIN55,212-2 produced time- and dose-related antihyperalgesia in both models. A 10mg/kg dose of WIN55,212-2 fully reversed carrageenan-evoked muscle hyperalgesia. However, 30mg/kg of WIN55,212-2 attenuated tumor-evoked hyperalgesia only ∼50%. After controlling for the difference in magnitude of hyperalgesia between the two models, WIN55,212-2 was still more potent at reducing hyperalgesia in the inflammatory model. In the cancer pain model, the antihyperalgesic effect of WIN55,212-2 was partially blocked by pretreatment with the selective CB1 (SR141716A) but not the CB2 (SR144528) receptor antagonist. In contrast, both antagonists blocked antihyperalgesic effects of WIN55,212-2 on carrageenan-evoked muscle hyperalgesia. Catalepsy and loss of motor coordination, known side effects of cannabinoids, did not account for the antihyperalgesia produced by WIN55,212-2. These data show that cannabinoids attenuate deep tissue hyperalgesia produced by both cancer and inflammatory conditions. Interestingly, cannabinoids differentially modulated carrageenan- and tumor-evoked hyperalgesia in terms of potency and receptor subtypes involved suggesting that differences in underlying mechanisms may exist between these two models of deep tissue pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-186
Number of pages12
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Cell cultures were maintained in the laboratory of Dr Dennis Clohisy by Margaret Ramnaraine at the University of Minnesota Cancer Research Center. The authors would like to thank Dr Carolyn Fairbanks, Catherine Harding-Rose and Thomas Trempe for their technical and intellectual contributions and Dr Michael Ossipov for use of his software program to calculate ED 50 values. This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (DA11471 and CA91007 to D.A.S). D.L.C. and B.D.N. were supported by training grant 2T35-DE07098.


  • Bone cancer
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Carrageenan inflammation
  • Grip force
  • Hyperalgesia
  • WIN 55,212-2


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