October 17, 2014
The Endocannabinoid System in Pain, Inflammation, and Addiction
The behavioral psychology lab I interned at studies the endocannabinoid system. Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are two major endocannabinoids that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. They are regulated by their respective degrading enzymes Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and Monoacylglycerol Lipase (MAGL). Cannabinoid receptors are present in the nervous system and the immune system. A synthetic FAAH inhibitor, which increases levels of anandamide, had previously been found by my PI and collaborators to reduce pain sensation and inflammation in mice with Collagen Induced Arthritis, a model of rheumatoid arthritis. The experiments I helped conduct were testing whether the synthetic MAGL inhibitor JZL184, which increases levels of 2-AG, has similar properties. Following acute dosing treatments, a chronic dosing treatment was being assessed with marble burying, hot plate, and tail immersion tests. In addition the lab was studying anxiety-like and depressive-like behaviors in rimonabant (a CB1 receptor antagonist) precipitated THC withdrawal.