Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) and cannabinoid receptors are G-protein coupled receptors which have shown synaptic co-operation through small lipid messengers in the central nervous system (CNS). A functional interaction between these two receptor families could have a relevant potential in the treatment of CNS disorders, including chronic pain. Indeed, both mGlu and cannabinoid receptors play a crucial role in the neurobiology of pain and their simultaneous manipulation could lead to novel strategies in pain management. In particular, as both mGlu and cannabinoid receptors have been found in the periaqueductal gray (PAG), a crucial station in the pain modulatory system, these receptors could be a substrate for producing analgesia at this level. In this review we aim to briefly illustrate the role of mGlu and cannabinoid receptors in controlling nociceptive processes, some points of convergence, and their functional interaction in pain processing. Further insights into this functional linkage between the mGlu and cannabinoid receptors could pave the way to a new strategy for pain relief, such as a drug cocktail acting on cannabinoid/metabotropic glutamate receptors.
Keywords: Periaqueductal grey, metabotropic glutamate receptors, cannabinoid receptors, pain
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