The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics

Repeated low-dose administration of the monoacylglycerol lipase inhibitor JZL184 retains cannabinoid receptor type 1-mediated antinociceptive and gastroprotective effects.

PMID 23412396


The monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) inhibitor 4-nitrophenyl 4-(dibenzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl(hydroxy)methyl)piperidine-1-carboxylate (JZL184) produces antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects. However, repeated administration of high-dose JZL184 (40 mg/kg) causes dependence, antinociceptive tolerance, cross-tolerance to the pharmacological effects of cannabinoid receptor agonists, and cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) downregulation and desensitization. This functional CB1 receptor tolerance poses a hurdle in the development of MAGL inhibitors for therapeutic use. Consequently, the present study tested whether repeated administration of low-dose JZL184 maintains its antinociceptive actions in the chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve neuropathic pain model and protective effects in a model of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastric hemorrhages. Mice given daily injections of high-dose JZL184 (≥16 mg/kg) for 6 days displayed decreased CB1 receptor density and function in the brain, as assessed in [(3)H]SR141716A binding and CP55,940 [(-)-cis-3-[2-hydroxy-4-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)phenyl]-trans-4-(3-hydroxypropyl) cyclohexanol]-stimulated guanosine 5'-O-(3-[(35)S]thio)triphosphate binding assays, respectively. In contrast, normal CB1 receptor expression and function were maintained following repeated administration of low-dose JZL184 (≤8 mg/kg). Likewise, the antinociceptive and gastroprotective effects of high-dose JZL184 underwent tolerance following repeated administration, but these effects were maintained following repeated low-dose JZL184 treatment. Consistent with these observations, repeated high-dose JZL184, but not repeated low-dose JZL184, elicited cross-tolerance to the common pharmacological effects of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol. This same pattern of effects was found in a rimonabant [(5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichloro-phenyl)-4-methyl-N-(piperidin-1-yl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide)]-precipitated withdrawal model of cannabinoid dependence. Taken together, these results indicate that prolonged, partial MAGL inhibition maintains potentially beneficial antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects, without producing functional CB1 receptor tachyphylaxis/tolerance or cannabinoid dependence.