Tolerance to cannabinoid agonists can develop through desensitization of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB 1 ) following prolonged administration. Desensitization results from phosphorylation of CB 1 by a G protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK), and subsequent association of the receptor with arrestin. Mice expressing a mutant form of CB 1 , in which the serine residues at two putative phosphorylation sites necessary for desensitization have been replaced by non-phosphorylatable alanines (S426A/S430A), display reduced tolerance to Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9 -THC). Tolerance to the antinociceptive effects of WIN55,212-2 was delayed in S426A/S430A mutants using the tail-flick and formalin tests. However, tolerance to the antinociceptive effects of once daily CP55,940 injections was not significantly delayed in S426A/S430A mutant mice using either of these tests. Interestingly, the dose response curve shifts for the hypothermic and antinociceptive effects of CP55,940 that were induced by chronic treatment with this agonist in wild-type mice were blocked in S426A/S430A mutant mice. Assessment of mechanical allodynia in mice exhibiting chronic cisplatin-evoked neuropathic pain found that tolerance to the anti-allodynic effects WIN55,212-2 but not CP55,940 was delayed in S426A/S430A mice compared to wild-type littermates. Despite these deficits in tolerance, S426A/S430A mutant mice eventually developed tolerance to both WIN55,212-2 and CP55,940 for all pain assays that were examined, suggesting that other mechanisms likely contribute to tolerance for these cannabinoid agonists. These findings suggest that GRK- and βarrestin2-mediated desensitization of CB 1 may strongly contribute to the rate of tolerance to the antinociceptive effects of WIN55,212-2, and raises the possibility of agonist-specific mechanisms of cannabinoid tolerance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience