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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 686908, 12 pages
Research Article

Alterations in the Anandamide Metabolism in the Development of Neuropathic Pain

Laboratory of Pain Pathophysiology, Department of Pain Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Smetna Street 12, 31-343 Krakow, Poland

Received 28 May 2014; Revised 4 July 2014; Accepted 6 July 2014; Published 2 September 2014

Academic Editor: Livio Luongo

Copyright © 2014 Natalia Malek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Endocannabinoids (EC), particularly anandamide (AEA), released constitutively in pain pathways might be accountable for the inhibitory effect on nociceptors. Pathogenesis of neuropathic pain may reflect complex remodeling of the dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) and spinal cord EC system. Multiple pathways involved both in the biosynthesis and degradation of AEA have been suggested. We investigated the local synthesis and degradation features of AEA in DRGs and spinal cord during the development and maintenance of pain in a model of chronic constriction injury (CCI). All AEA synthesis and degradation enzymes are present on the mRNA level in DRGs and lumbar spinal cord of intact as well as CCI-treated animals. Deregulation of EC system components was consistent with development of pain phenotype at days 3, 7, and 14 after CCI. The expression levels of enzymes involved in AEA degradation was significantly upregulated ipsilateral in DRGs and spinal cord at different time points. Expression of enzymes of the alternative, sPLA2-dependent and PLC-dependent, AEA synthesis pathways was elevated in both of the analyzed structures at all time points. Our data have shown an alteration of alternative AEA synthesis and degradation pathways, which might contribute to the variation of AEA levels and neuropathic pain development.