Cannabidiol Treatment Shows Therapeutic Efficacy in a Rodent Model of Social Transfer of Pain in Pair-Housed Male Mice

Introduction: Prosocial behavior refers to sharing emotions and sensations such as pain. Accumulated data indicate that cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychotomimetic component of the Cannabis sativa plant, attenuates hyperalgesia, anxiety, and anhedonic-like behavior. Nevertheless, the role of CBD in the social transfer of pain has never been evaluated. In this study, we investigated the effects of acute systemic administration of CBD in mice that cohabited with a conspecific animal suffering from chronic constriction injury. Furthermore, we assessed whether repeated CBD treatment decreases hypernociception, anxiety-like behavior, and anhedonic-like responses in mice undergoing chronic constriction injury and whether this attenuation would be socially transferred to the partner. Materials and Methods: Male Swiss mice were Housed in pairs for 28 days. On the 14th day of living together, animals were then divided into two groups: cagemate nerve constriction (CNC), in which one animal of each partner was subjected to sciatic nerve constriction; and cagemate sham (CS), subjected to the same surgical procedure but without suffering nerve constriction. In Experiments 1, 2, and 3 on day 28 of living together, the cagemates (CNC and CS) animals received a single systemic injection (intraperitoneally) of vehicle or CBD (0.3, 1, 10, or 30 mg/kg). After 30 min, the cagemates were subjected to the elevated plusmaze followed by exposure to the writhing and sucrose splash tests. For chronic treatment (Exp. 4), sham and chronic constriction injury animals received a repeated systemic injection (subcutaneous) of vehicle or CBD (10 mg/kg) for 14 days after the sciatic nerve constriction procedure. On days 28 and 29 sham and chronic constriction injury animals and their cagemates were behaviorally tested. Results and Conclusion: Acute CBD administration attenuated anxiety-like behavior, pain hypersensitivity, and anhedonic-like behavior in cagemates that cohabited with a pair in chronic pain. In addition, repeated CBD treatment reversed the anxiety-like behavior induced by chronic pain and enhanced the mechanical withdrawal thresholds in Von Frey filaments and the grooming time in the sucrose splash test. Moreover, repeated CBD treatment effects were socially transferred to the chronic constriction injury cagemates.


anhedonia; anxiety; cannabidiol; mice; pain; prosocial-like behavior.

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