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Endocannabinoid System and TENS

December 3, 2019
Cancer-related pain improved with use of low and high frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in Swiss animal model study.

A PPM Brief

Researchers out of Brazil recently published findings investigating the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in TENS-induced antinociception of cancer-related pain. The animal study involved intraplantar injections of Ehrlich tumor cells in male Swiss mice, followed by 20 minutes of low- and high-frequency TENS to the paws.

The cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist [ N-(peperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pitazole-3-carboixamide (AM251)] and an endocannabinoid inhibitor [(5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z)-5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenyl-methylester phosphonofluoridic acid (MAFP)] were injected. Analytical techniques utilized liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, western blot, and immunofluorescence assays. Researchers evaluated the effects on the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) levels, cannabinoid CB1 receptor protein levels, and cannabinoid CB1 receptor immunoreactivity, respectively.

Findings demonstrated that both low- and high-frequency TENS applications “reduced the mechanical allodynia induced by Ehrlich tumor cells and this effect was reversed by AM251 and potentiated by MAFP at the peripheral and central levels,” they wrote in their published paper. “In addition, TENS increased the AEA levels and the cannabinoid CB1 receptor protein levels and immunoreactivity in the paw, spinal cord, and dorsolateral PAG.”

While this preliminary study was conducted in mice involving cancer pain, it is possible that TENS may be used as a more regular nonpharmacological pain management approach with cancer pain in human patients. As the researchers concluded, the endocannabinoid system appeared to be involved at both peripheral and central levels.

Last updated on: December 3, 2019
Continue Reading:
Analgesics of the Future: The Potential of the Endocannabinoid System
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