Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior

Combined inhibition of FAAH and COX produces enhanced anti-allodynic effects in mouse neuropathic and inflammatory pain models.

PMID 25058512


Common pharmacological treatments of neuropathic and chronic inflammatory pain conditions generally lack efficacy and/or are associated with significant untoward side effects. However, recent preclinical data indicate that combined inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the primary catabolic enzyme of the endocannabinoid N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide; AEA), produces enhanced antinociceptive effects in a variety of murine models of pain. Accordingly, the primary objective of the present study was to investigate the consequences of co-administration of the COX inhibitor diclofenac and the highly selective FAAH inhibitor PF-3845 in models of neuropathic pain (i.e., chronic constrictive injury of the sciatic nerve (CCI)) and inflammatory pain induced by an intraplantar injection of carrageenan. Here, we report that combined administration of subthreshold doses of these drugs produced enhanced antinociceptive effects in CCI and carrageenan pain models, the latter of which was demonstrated to require both CB1 and CB2 receptors. The combined administration of subthreshold doses of these drugs also increased AEA levels and decreased prostaglandin levels in whole brain. Together, these data add to the growing research that dual blockade of FAAH and COX represents a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain states. Tandem inhibition of FAAH and COX attenuates inflammatory and neuropathic pain states, which may avoid potentially harmful side effects of other therapeutic options, such as NSAIDs or opioids.