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Characterization of cerebral cortical endocannabinoid levels in a rat inguinal surgery model using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS)

  • M. Ita (a1) and J. Kelly (a2)



The brain endocannabinoid system is believed to play significant roles in anti-nociception, fear response, anxiety, and stress. This study investigated the effects of rat inguinal surgery on the levels of endocannabinoids in the cerebral cortex.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of acute post-surgical pain on the levels of endocannabinoids in the cerebral cortex.


Quantitation of endocannabinoids in the rat cerebral cortex was performed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry.


There was no significant difference in the cerebral cortical levels of anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) between the sham and surgery experimental groups. However, there were lateralized differences in the levels of these endocannabinoids between the right and left cerebral cortices irrespective of the two groups. The concentrations of AEA and 2-AG were significantly higher in the right cerebral cortex compared to the contralateral cerebral cortex.


Acute post-surgical pain did not induce significant alterations in the cerebral cortical levels of endocannabinoids in this study, but the phenomenon of lateralization of the cerebral cortical AEA and 2-AG levels was observed; this latter finding may be related to the role played by endocannabinoids in fear conditioning.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr M. Ita, Department of Academic Surgery, Cork University Hospital, Ireland. (Email:


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