Control of experimental spasticity by targeting the degradation of endocannabinoids using selective fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitors.
Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, UK.
It has been previously shown that CB1 cannabinoid receptor agonism using cannabis extractsalleviates spasticity in both a mouse experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model and multiple sclerosis (MS) in humans. However, this action can be associated with dose-limiting side effects.
We hypothesised that blockade of anandamide (endocannabinoid) degradation would inhibit spasticity, whilst avoiding overt cannabimimetic effects.
Spasticity eventually developed following the induction of EAE in either wild-type or congenic fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH)-deficient Biozzi ABH mice. These animals were treated with a variety of different FAAH inhibitors and the effect on the degree of limb stiffness was assessed using a strain gauge.
Control of spasticity was achieved using FAAH inhibitors CAY100400, CAY100402 and URB597, which was sustained following repeated administrations. Therapeutic activity occurred in the absence of overt cannabimimetic effects. Importantly, the therapeutic value of the target could be definitively validated as the treatment activity was lost in FAAH-deficient mice. Spasticity was also controlled by a selective monoacyl glycerol lipase inhibitor, JZL184.
This study demonstrates definitively that FAAH inhibitors provide a new class of anti-spastic agents that may have utility in treating spasticity in MS and avoid the dose-limiting side effects associated withcannabis use.