CNR1 Gene Profile
Aliases: CB1, Cnr1
cannabinoid receptor 1 (brain); striatal cannabinoid receptor type 1 protein
Taxonomy and Organism Information
Mus musculus (scientific name), house mouse (genbank common name), mouse (common name)
Physical Location Details
Chromosome (4), Map Location (4 A5|4 13.9 cM)
Gene Ontology (GO)
External Identifiers (ID's from other Repositories)
No Protein Interactions Available
NCBI Protein Accessions and Genbank Identifiers (GI)
NCBI Protein Accessions
NCBI Protein Accessions
NCBI Nucleotide (mRNA/cDNA) Accessions and Genbank Identifiers (GI)
NCBI Nucleotide (mRNA/cDNA) Accessions
NCBI Nucleotide (mRNA/cDNA) GI's
Publication References and Citations
Cannabinoid receptors as novel targets for the treatment of melanoma.
Melanoma causes the greatest number of skin cancer-related deaths worldwide. Despite intensive research, prevention and early detection are the only effective measures against melanoma, so new therapeutic strategies are necessary for the management of this devastating disease. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of cannabinoid receptor agonists, a new family of potential antitumoral compounds, at skin melanoma. Human melanomas and melanoma cell lines express CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Activation of these receptors decreased growth, proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis, and increased apoptosis, of melanomas in mice. Cannabinoid antimelanoma activity was independent of the immune status of the animal, could be achieved without overt psychoactive effects and was selective for melanoma cells vs. normal melanocytes. Cannabinoid antiproliferative action on melanoma cells was due, at least in part, to cell cycle arrest at the G1-S transition via inhibition of the prosurvival protein Akt and hypophosphorylation of the pRb retinoblastoma protein tumor suppressor. These findings may contribute to the design of new chemotherapeutic strategies for the management of melanoma.
FASEB J. Dec (2006); 14(20): 2633-5
Endogenous cannabinoid signaling through the CB1 receptor is essential for cerebellum-dependent discrete motor learning.
Cannabinoids exert their psychomotor actions through the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the brain. Genetic deletion of CB1 in mice causes various symptoms, including changes in locomotor activity, increased ring catalepsy, supraspinal hypoalgesia, and impaired memory extinction. Although the cerebellar cortex contains the highest level of CB1, severe cerebellum-related functional deficits have not been reported in CB1 knock-out mice. To clarify the roles of CB1 in cerebellar function, we subjected CB1 knock-out mice to a delay version of classical eyeblink conditioning. This paradigm is a test for cerebellum-dependent discrete motor learning, in which conditioned stimulus (CS) (352 ms tone) and unconditioned stimulus (US) (100 ms periorbital electrical shock) are coterminated. We found that delay eyeblink conditioning performance was severely impaired in CB1 knock-out mice. In contrast, they exhibited normal performance in a trace version of eyeblink conditioning with 500 ms stimulus-free interval intervened between the CS offset and the US onset. This paradigm is a test for hippocampus-dependent associative learning. Sensitivity of CB1 knock-out mice to CS or US was normal, suggesting that impaired delay eyeblink conditioning is attributable to defects in association of responses to CS and US. We also found that intraperitoneal injection of the CB1 antagonist SR141716A [N-piperidino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-3-pyrazole carboxamide] to wild-type mice caused severe impairment in acquisition but not extinction of delay eyeblink conditioning. SR141716A treatment had no effect on trace eyeblink conditioning with a 500 or 750 ms trace interval. These results indicate that endogenous cannabinoid signaling through CB1 is essential for cerebellum-dependent discrete motor learning, especially for its acquisition.
J. Neurosci. Aug (2006); 34(26): 8829-37
Induction of Krox-24 by endogenous cannabinoid type 1 receptors in Neuro2A cells is mediated by the MEK-ERK MAPK pathway and is suppressed by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway.
Neuro2a cells endogenously express cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors. CB1 stimulation with HU210 activated ERK and induced the transcription factor Krox-24. A functional MEK-ERK pathway is an important requirement for CB1-mediated Krox-24 induction as blockade of MEK signaling by UO126 reduces both basal and CB1-mediated activation of Krox-24. CB1 receptor stimulation did not activate either JNK or p38 MAPK pathways or the pro-proliferation phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt pathway. However, serum removal or blockade of PI3K signaling by LY294002 transiently stimulated basal Krox-24 expression and increased CB1-mediated induction of Krox-24. This was consistent with a transient increase in pMEK, pERK, and pCREB levels following PI3K blockade. These data demonstrate that CB1-mediated activation of the Krox-24 transcription factor is negatively regulated through the PI3K-Akt pathway and reveals several points of signaling cross-talk between these two important kinase pathways.
J. Biol. Chem. Sep (2006); 39(281): 29085-95
CB1 receptor antagonism increases hippocampal acetylcholine release: site and mechanism of action.
Evidence indicates that blockade of cannabinoid receptors increases acetylcholine (ACh) release in brain cortical regions. Although it is assumed that this type of effect is mediated through CB1 receptor (CB1R) antagonism, several in vitro functional studies recently have suggested non-CB1R involvement. In addition, neither the precise neuroanatomical site nor the exact mechanisms underlying this effect are known. We thoroughly examined these issues using a combination of systemic and local administration of CB1R antagonists, different methods of in vivo microdialysis, CB1R knockout (KO) mice, tissue measurements of ACh, and immunochemistry. First, we showed that systemic injections of the CB1R antagonists N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboximide hydrochloride (SR-141716A) and N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2, 4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (AM251) dose-dependently increased hippocampal ACh efflux. Likewise, local hippocampal, but not septal, infusions of SR141716A or AM251 increased hippocampal ACh release. It is noteworthy that the stimulatory effects of systemically administered CB1R antagonists on hippocampal ACh release were completely abolished in CB1R KO mice. CB1R KO mice had similar basal but higher stress-enhanced hippocampal ACh levels compared with wild-type controls. It is interesting that dopamine D1 receptor antagonism counteracted the stimulatory effect of CB1R blockade on hippocampal ACh levels. Finally, immunohistochemical methods revealed that a high proportion of CB1R-positive nerve terminals were found in hippocampus and confirmed the colocalization of CB1 receptors with cholinergic and dopaminergic nerve terminals. In conclusion, hippocampal ACh release may specifically be controlled through CB1Rs located on both cholinergic and dopaminergic neuronal projections, and CB1R antagonism increases hippocampal ACh release, probably through both a direct disinhibition of ACh release and an indirect increase in dopaminergic neurotransmission at the D1 receptors.
Mol. Pharmacol. Oct (2006); 4(70): 1236-45
Cannabinoid CB1 receptor mediates fear extinction via habituation-like processes.
The interplay between fear expression and fear extinction provides an important prerequisite for adequate coping with aversive encounters. Current models propose that extinction of conditioned fear is mediated by associative safety learning. Here, we demonstrate that the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, which is crucially involved in fear extinction, is dispensable for associative safety learning. In fact, our results indicate that CB1 mediates fear extinction primarily via habituation-like processes. CB1 null-mutant mice were severely impaired not only in extinction of the fear response to a tone after fear conditioning but also in habituation of the fear response to a tone after sensitization with an inescapable footshock. Surprisingly, long-term habituation was generally affected even in situations with proper short-term adaptation, suggesting the existence of two separated CB1-dependent effector systems for short- and long-term fear adaptation. Our findings underscore the importance of habituation as a determinant of fear extinction in mice and characterize the cannabinoid CB1 receptor as an essential molecular correlate of this process.
J. Neurosci. Jun (2006); 25(26): 6677-86
Involvement of neuronal cannabinoid receptor CB1 in regulation of bone mass and bone remodeling.
The CB1 cannabinoid receptor has been implicated in the regulation of bone remodeling and bone mass. A high bone mass (HBM) phenotype was reported in CB1-null mice generated on a CD1 background (CD1(CB1-/-) mice). By contrast, our preliminary studies in cb1-/- mice, backcrossed to C57BL/6J mice (C57(CB1-/-) mice), revealed low bone mass (LBM). We therefore analyzed CB1 expression in bone and compared the skeletons of sexually mature C57(CB1-/-) and CD1(CB1-/-) mice in the same experimental setting. CB1 mRNA is weakly expressed in osteoclasts and immunoreactive CB1 is present in sympathetic neurons, close to osteoblasts. In addition to their LBM, male and female C57(CB1-/-) mice exhibit decreased bone formation rate and increased osteoclast number. The skeletal phenotype of the CD1(CB1-/-) mice shows a gender disparity. Female mice have normal trabecular bone with a slight cortical expansion, whereas male CD1(CB1-/-) animals display an HBM phenotype. We were surprised to find that bone formation and resorption are within normal limits. These findings, at least the consistent set of data obtained in the C57(CB1-/-) line, suggest an important role for CB1 signaling in the regulation of bone remodeling and bone mass. Because sympathetic CB1 signaling inhibits norepinephrine (NE) release in peripheral tissues, part of the endocannabinoid activity in bone may be attributed to the regulation of NE release from sympathetic nerve fibers. Several phenotypic discrepancies have been reported between C57(CB1-/-) and CD1(CB1-/-) mice that could result from genetic differences between the background strains. Unraveling these differences can provide useful information on the physiologic functional milieu of CB1 in bone.
Mol. Pharmacol. Sep (2006); 3(70): 786-92
Prolonged recovery rate of CB1 receptor adaptation after cessation of long-term cannabinoid administration.
Long-term cannabinoid administration produces region-dependent CB1 receptor desensitization and down-regulation. This study examined the time course for normalization of CB1 receptors and G-protein activation using 3H-labeled N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboximide hydrochloride (SR141716A) and guanosine 5'-O-(3-[35S]thio)triphosphate ([35S]GTPgammaS binding), respectively, in hippocampus and striatum/globus pallidus (GP). Mice were treated with escalating doses of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC) or R+-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(morpholinyl)methyl]pyrrolo-[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazinyl]-(1-naphthalenyl)methanone mesylate (WIN55,212-2) for 15 days, and tissue was collected 1, 3, 7, or 14 days after final injection. [3H]SR141716A and WIN55,212-2-stimulated [35S]GTPgammaS binding were decreased in both regions 1 day after treatment. WIN55,212-2-stimulated G-protein activation in striatum/GP returned to control level at 3 days after cessation of treatment with either drug but did not return to control level in hippocampus until 14 days. CB1 receptor binding did not recover to control levels until day 7 or 14 after treatment in striatum/GP and hippocampus, respectively. The mechanism of CB1 binding site down-regulation was investigated after long-term Delta9-THC treatment. Analysis of CB1 receptor mRNA in hippocampus and striatum/GP showed that transcriptional regulation could not explain prolonged recovery rates from CB1 receptor down-regulation. In contrast, CB1 receptor protein, as determined by immunoblot analysis, matched the down-regulation and recovery rates of CB1 receptor binding sites relatively closely. These data demonstrate that cannabinoid-induced decreases in CB1 receptor function persist for relatively long time periods after cessation of long-term drug treatment and that CB1 receptor signaling recovers more quickly in striatum/GP than hippocampus. Moreover, down-regulation of CB1 receptor binding sites does not seem to result mainly from transcriptional regulation, suggesting that adaptive regulation of CB1 receptors in brain primarily occurs at the protein level.
Mol. Pharmacol. Sep (2006); 3(70): 986-96
Cannabinoid receptor type 1 located on presynaptic terminals of principal neurons in the forebrain controls glutamatergic synaptic transmission.
It is widely accepted that cannabinoids regulate GABA release by activation of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1). Results obtained from a variety of brain regions consistently indicate that cannabinoid agonists can also reduce glutamatergic synaptic transmission. However, there are still conflicting data concerning the role of CB1 in cannabinoid-induced inhibition of glutamatergic transmission in cortical areas. Here, we provide direct evidence that activation of CB1 on terminals of principal neurons controls excitatory synaptic responses in the forebrain. In slices of the basolateral amygdala, the CA1 region of the hippocampus, and the primary somatosensory cortex of wild-type mice, application of the CB1 agonist (R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl)pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl]-1-naphthalenylmethanone (WIN55,212-2; WIN) (5 mum) reduced evoked excitatory postsynaptic responses. In contrast, in slices obtained from conditional mouse mutants lacking CB1 in all principal forebrain neurons but not in GABAergic interneurons (CB1(f/f;CaMKIIalphaCre)), WIN no longer affected glutamatergic synaptic transmission in any of the brain regions tested. Compatible with a presynaptic mechanism, WIN did not change the sensitivity to focally uncaged l-glutamate. WIN reduced glutamatergic responses in slices obtained from mice lacking CB1 exclusively in GABAergic neurons (CB1(f/f;Dlx5/6-Cre)), thus excluding the involvement of CB1 expressed on GABAergic neurons in this effect of the drug. The present data strongly indicate that excitatory synaptic transmission in forebrain areas is directly modulated by CB1 expressed on presynaptic axon terminals originating from glutamatergic neurons.
J. Neurosci. May (2006); 21(26): 5794-9
Molecular composition of the endocannabinoid system at glutamatergic synapses.
Endocannabinoids play central roles in retrograde signaling at a wide variety of synapses throughout the CNS. Although several molecular components of the endocannabinoid system have been identified recently, their precise location and contribution to retrograde synaptic signaling is essentially unknown. Here we show, by using two independent riboprobes, that principal cell populations of the hippocampus express high levels of diacylglycerol lipase alpha (DGL-alpha), the enzyme involved in generation of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG). Immunostaining with two independent antibodies against DGL-alpha revealed that this lipase was concentrated in heads of dendritic spines throughout the hippocampal formation. Furthermore, quantification of high-resolution immunoelectron microscopic data showed that this enzyme was highly compartmentalized into a wide perisynaptic annulus around the postsynaptic density of axospinous contacts but did not occur intrasynaptically. On the opposite side of the synapse, the axon terminals forming these excitatory contacts were found to be equipped with presynaptic CB1 cannabinoid receptors. This precise anatomical positioning suggests that 2-AG produced by DGL-alpha on spine heads may be involved in retrograde synaptic signaling at glutamatergic synapses, whereas CB1 receptors located on the afferent terminals are in an ideal position to bind 2-AG and thereby adjust presynaptic glutamate release as a function of postsynaptic activity. We propose that this molecular composition of the endocannabinoid system may be a general feature of most glutamatergic synapses throughout the brain and may contribute to homosynaptic plasticity of excitatory synapses and to heterosynaptic plasticity between excitatory and inhibitory contacts.
J. Neurosci. May (2006); 21(26): 5628-37
Evaluation of the in vivo receptor occupancy for the behavioral effects of cannabinoids using a radiolabeled cannabinoid receptor agonist, R-[125/131I]AM2233.
G-protein coupled receptors exist in both high and low agonist affinity conformations, with tracer levels of agonist radioligands preferentially binding to the former. The goal of the present study was to characterize the in vivo binding of the aminoalkyindole-based, CB1 receptor agonist, R-[125/131I]AM2233 ((2-[125/131I]iodo-phenyl)-[1-(1-methyl-piperidin-2-yl-methyl)-1H-indol-3-yl]-methanone), and to use this radiotracer to selectively measure the receptor occupancy by the related CB1 receptor agonist, WIN55212-2, to the agonist-preferring affinity state of the receptor. In mouse locomotor assays, both WIN55212-2 and AM2233 (racemic) produced an approximately 60% reduction in activity at 1 mg/kg, (i.v.) and completely inhibited activity at 3 mg/kg, confirming their agonist nature. In ex vivo autoradiography, preferential uptake of R-[131I]AM2233 was apparent in CB1 receptor-rich areas, including globus pallidus, substantia nigra, striatum, cerebellum, and hippocampus. Overall brain uptake of R-[131I]AM2233 was 1.3% injected activity/g at 5 min in mice. Coinjection of 3 mg/kg (i.v.) SR141716A, a CB1 receptor antagonist, with R-[125I]AM2233 inhibited the radiotracer binding almost to nonspecific levels in the striatum, globus pallidus, and substantia nigra, although residual binding to a non-CB1 receptor remained in the hippocampus. In contrast to the effect of SR141716A, coinjection of 10 mg/kg (i.v.) WIN55212-2, a high dose that produced an immediate and profound immobility and catalepsy in the mice, reduced CB1 receptor-specific binding of R-[125I]AM2233 in CB1 receptor-rich areas by only 21-43%. These observations suggest that the behavioral effects of CB1 receptor agonists are manifested with a relatively small fraction of the agonist-preferring affinity state of the receptor occupied.
Synapse Aug (2006); 2(60): 93-101
CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonism: a new strategy for the treatment of liver fibrosis.
Hepatic fibrosis, the common response associated with chronic liver diseases, ultimately leads to cirrhosis, a major public health problem worldwide. We recently showed that activation of hepatic cannabinoid CB2 receptors limits progression of experimental liver fibrosis. We also found that during the course of chronic hepatitis C, daily cannabis use is an independent predictor of fibrosis progression. Overall, these results suggest that endocannabinoids may drive both CB2-mediated antifibrogenic effects and CB2-independent profibrogenic effects. Here we investigated whether activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors (encoded by Cnr1) promotes progression of fibrosis. CB1 receptors were highly induced in human cirrhotic samples and in liver fibrogenic cells. Treatment with the CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A decreased the wound-healing response to acute liver injury and inhibited progression of fibrosis in three models of chronic liver injury. We saw similar changes in Cnr1-/- mice as compared to wild-type mice. Genetic or pharmacological inactivation of CB1 receptors decreased fibrogenesis by lowering hepatic transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 and reducing accumulation of fibrogenic cells in the liver after apoptosis and growth inhibition of hepatic myofibroblasts. In conclusion, our study shows that CB1 receptor antagonists hold promise for the treatment of liver fibrosis.
Nat. Med. Jun (2006); 6(12): 671-6
CB1 knockout mice display significant changes in striatal opioid peptide and D4 dopamine receptor gene expression.
Antagonism of the CB(1) cannabinoid receptor (CB(1) receptor) by rimonabant (SR141716) reduces self-administration of alcohol and other drugs of abuse in animal models. These findings suggest that the CB(1) receptor may be a target for genetic differences that modify the salient features of rewarding drugs. In the present study, wild-type (CB(1) (+/+)) are compared to transgenic mice deficient in CB(1) receptors (CB(1) (-/-)). The goal was to investigate the influences of the cannabinoid receptor system on opioid peptide gene expression and on dopamine receptor gene expression which is commonly influenced by substances of abuse. We demonstrate using reverse transcription and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that striatal mRNA for preproenkephalin (PPENK) and preprodynorphin (PPDYN) in the CB(1) (-/-) striatum increases when compared to CB(1) (+/+). Real-time PCR analyses to evaluate D(2) and D(4) dopamine receptor gene expression in striatum isolated from CB(1) (+/+) and CB(1) (-/-) revealed a nearly 2-fold increase in D(4) receptor mRNA in the striatum from CB(1) (-/-) mice and no significant change in D(2) expression. In contrast, treatment of C57BL/6 mice with the CB(1) receptor antagonist, rimonabant, produced a reduction of both D(2) and D(4) dopamine receptor expression in the striatum. These data suggest that genetic differences in CB(1) receptor may exert a modulatory effect on D(4) dopamine receptor and opioid peptide gene expression.
Brain Res. Jun (2006); 1(1093): 20-4
Immunohistochemical localization of cannabinoid type 1 and vanilloid transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 receptors in the mouse brain.
Cannabinoid type 1 receptors and transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 channels have been proposed to act as metabotropic and ionotropic receptors, respectively, for two classes of endogenous polyunsaturated fatty acid amides, the acylethanolamides and the acyldopamides. Furthermore, we and others have shown that functional crosstalk occurs between these two receptors when they are expressed in the same cell. Although demonstrated in sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia, spinal cord and myenteric neurons, co-expression of cannabinoid type 1 and transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 has not yet been studied in the brain. In the present study, we addressed this issue by using commercially available specific antibodies whose specificity was confirmed by data obtained with brains from cannabinoid type 1(-/-) and transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1(-/-) mice. Double cannabinoid type 1/transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 immunofluorescence and single cannabinoid type 1 or transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 avidin-biotin complex immunohistochemistry techniques were performed and both methods used point to the same results. Cannabinoid type 1/transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 expression was observed in the hippocampus, basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, cerebral peduncle, pontine nuclei, periaqueductal gray matter, cerebellar cortex and dentate cerebellar nucleus. In particular, in the hippocampus, cannabinoid type 1/transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 expression was detected on cell bodies of many pyramidal neurons throughout the CA1-CA3 subfields and in the molecular layer of dentate gyrus. In the cerebellar cortex, expression of cannabinoid type 1/transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 receptors was found surrounding soma and axons of the vast majority of Purkinje cell bodies, whose cytoplasm was found unstained for both receptors. Cannabinoid type 1 and transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 immunoreactivity was also detected in: a) the globus pallidus and substantia nigra, in which some intensely transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 immunopositive cell bodies were found in dense and fine cannabinoid type 1/transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 positive and cannabinoid type 1 positive nerve fiber meshworks, respectively; b) the cytoplasm of thalamic and hypothalamic neurons; and c) some neurons of the ventral periaqueductal gray. These data support the hypothesis of a functional relationship between the two receptor types in the CNS.
Neuroscience (2006); 4(139): 1405-15
Agonists of cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 inhibit experimental colitis induced by oil of mustard and by dextran sulfate sodium.
Oil of mustard (OM) is a potent neuronal activator that is known to elicit visceral hyperalgesia when given intracolonically, but the full extent to which OM is also proinflammatory in the gastrointestinal tract is not known. We have previously shown that male CD-1 mice given a single administration of 0.5% OM develop a severe colitis that is maximum at day 3 and that gradually lessens until essentially absent by day 14. OM-induced neuronal stimulation is reported to be reduced by cannabinoid agonists, and cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R)-/- mice have exacerbated experimental colitis. Therefore, we examined the role of cannabinoids in this OM-induced 3-day model of colitis in CD-1 mice and in a 7-day dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) colitis model in BALB/c mice. In OM colitis, the CB1R-selective agonist ACEA and the CB2R-selective agonist JWH-133 reduced (P < 0.05) colon weight gain (means +/- SE; 82 +/- 13% and 47 +/- 15% inhibition, respectively), colon shrinkage (98 +/- 24% and 42 +/- 12%, respectively), colon inflammatory damage score (49 +/- 11% and 40 +/- 12%, respectively), and diarrhea (58 +/- 12% and 43 +/- 11%, respectively). Histological damage was similarly reduced by these treatments. Likewise, CBR agonists attenuated DSS colitis, albeit at higher doses; ACEA at 10 mg/kg, twice daily, inhibited (P < 0.05) macroscopic and microscopic scores (46 +/- 9% and 63 +/- 7%, respectively); whereas 20 mg/kg, twice daily, of JWH-133 was required to diminish (P < 0.05) macroscopic and microscopic scores (29 +/- 7% and 43 +/- 5%, respectively). CB1R and CB2R immunostaining of colon sections revealed that CB1R in enteric neurons was more intense in colitic vs. control mice; however, CB1R was also increased in the endothelial layer in OM colitis only. CB2R immunostaining was more marked in infiltrated immune cells in OM colitis. These findings validate the OM colitis model with respect to the DSS model and provide strong support to the emerging idea that cannabinoid receptor activation mediates protective mechanisms in experimental colitis. The demonstration of CB1R agonist effects in colitis support the neurogenic nature of the OM-induced colitis model and reinforce the importance of neuronal activation in intestinal inflammation.
Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. Aug (2006); 2(291): G364-71
Increasing cannabinoid levels by pharmacological and genetic manipulation delay disease progression in SOD1 mice.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of motoneurons in the spinal cord, brain stem, and motor cortex. However, despite intensive research, an effective treatment for this disease remains elusive. In this study we show that treatment of postsymptomatic, 90-day-old SOD1G93A mice with a synthetic cannabinoid, WIN55,212-2, significantly delays disease progression. Furthermore, genetic ablation of the Faah enzyme, which results in raised levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide, prevented the appearance of disease signs in 90-day-old SOD1G93A mice. Surprisingly, elevation of cannabinoid levels with either WIN55,212-2 or Faah ablation had no effect on life span. Ablation of the CB1 receptor, in contrast, had no effect on disease onset in SOD1(G93A) mice but significantly extended life span. Together these results show that cannabinoids have significant neuroprotective effects in this model of ALS and suggest that these beneficial effects may be mediated by non-CB1 receptor mechanisms.
FASEB J. May (2006); 7(20): 1003-5
Extracellular-signal regulated kinase 1-dependent metabotropic glutamate receptor 5-induced long-term depression in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is disrupted by cocaine administration.
The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is a key component of the CNS stress and reward circuit. Synaptic plasticity in this region could in part underlie the persistent behavioral alterations in generalized anxiety and addiction. Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) have been implicated in stress, addiction, and synaptic plasticity, but their roles in the BNST are unknown. We find that activation of group I mGluRs in the dorsal BNST induces depression of excitatory synaptic transmission through two distinct mechanisms. First, a combined activation of group I mGluRs (mGluR1 and mGluR5) induces a transient depression that is cannabinoid 1 receptor dependent. Second, as with endocannabinoid-independent group I mGluR long-term depression (LTD) in the adult hippocampus, we find that activation of mGluR5 induces an extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-dependent LTD. Surprisingly, our data demonstrate that this LTD requires the ERK1 rather than ERK2 isoform, establishing a key role for this isoform in the CNS. Finally, we find that this LTD is dramatically reduced after multiple exposures but not a single exposure to cocaine, suggesting a role for this form of plasticity in the actions of psychostimulants on anxiety and reward circuitries and their emergent control of animal behavior.
J. Neurosci. Mar (2006); 12(26): 3210-9
The CB1 cannabinoid receptor is the major cannabinoid receptor at excitatory presynaptic sites in the hippocampus and cerebellum.
Endocannabinoids work as retrograde messengers and contribute to short-term and long-term modulation of synaptic transmission via presynaptic cannabinoid receptors. It is generally accepted that the CB1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1) mediates the effects of endocannabinoid in inhibitory synapses. For excitatory synapses, however, contributions of CB1, "CB3," and some other unidentified receptors have been suggested. In the present study we used electrophysiological and immunohistochemical techniques and examined the type(s) of cannabinoid receptor functioning at hippocampal and cerebellar excitatory synapses. Our electrophysiological data clearly demonstrate the predominant contribution of CB1. At hippocampal excitatory synapses on pyramidal neurons the cannabinoid-induced synaptic suppression was reversed by a CB1-specific antagonist, N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (AM251), and was absent in CB1 knock-out mice. At climbing fiber (CF) and parallel fiber (PF) synapses on cerebellar Purkinje cells the cannabinoid-dependent suppression was absent in CB1 knock-out mice. The presence of CB1 at presynaptic terminals was confirmed by immunohistochemical experiments with specific antibodies against CB1. In immunoelectron microscopy the densities of CB1-positive signals in hippocampal excitatory terminals and cerebellar PF terminals were much lower than in inhibitory terminals but were clearly higher than the background. Along the long axis of PFs, the CB1 was localized at a much higher density on the perisynaptic membrane than on the extrasynaptic and synaptic regions. In contrast, CB1 density was low in CF terminals and was not significantly higher than the background. Despite the discrepancy between the electrophysiological and morphological data for CB1 expression on CFs, these results collectively indicate that CB1 is responsible for cannabinoid-dependent suppression of excitatory transmission in the hippocampus and cerebellum.
J. Neurosci. Mar (2006); 11(26): 2991-3001
Nell1-deficient mice have reduced expression of extracellular matrix proteins causing cranial and vertebral defects.
The mammalian Nell1 gene encodes a protein kinase C-beta1 (PKC-beta1) binding protein that belongs to a new class of cell-signaling molecules controlling cell growth and differentiation. Over-expression of Nell1 in the developing cranial sutures in both human and mouse induces craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of the growing cranial bone fronts. Here, we report the generation, positional cloning and characterization of Nell1(6R), a recessive, neonatal-lethal point mutation in the mouse Nell1 gene, induced by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea. Nell1(6R) has a T-->A base change that converts a codon for cysteine into a premature stop codon [Cys(502)Ter], resulting in severe truncation of the predicted protein product and marked reduction in steady-state levels of the transcript. In addition to the expected alteration of cranial morphology, Nell1(6R) mutants manifest skeletal defects in the vertebral column and ribcage, revealing a hitherto undefined role for Nell1 in signal transduction in endochondral ossification. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR assays of 219 genes showed an association between the loss of Nell1 function and reduced expression of genes for extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins critical for chondrogenesis and osteogenesis. Several affected genes are involved in the human cartilage disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and other disorders associated with spinal curvature anomalies. Nell1(6R) mutant mice are a new tool for elucidating basic mechanisms in osteoblast and chrondrocyte differentiation in the developing skull and vertebral column and understanding how perturbations in the production of ECM proteins can lead to anomalies in these structures.
Hum. Mol. Genet. Apr (2006); 8(15): 1329-41
The CB1 cannabinoid receptor mediates glutamatergic synaptic suppression in the hippocampus.
Cannabinoids have profound effects on synaptic function and behavior. Of the two cloned cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is widely distributed in the CNS and accounts for most of the neurological effects of cannabinoids, while cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) expression in the CNS is very limited. The presence of additional receptors [i.e. cannabinoid receptor 3 (CB3)] is suggested by growing evidence of cannabinoid effects that are not mediated by CB1 or CB2. The most direct functional evidence for a CB3 comes from a study in hippocampus where deletion of CB1 was shown to have no effect on cannabinoid-mediated suppression of the excitatory synapse between Schaffer collateral/commissural fibers and CA1 pyramidal cells [Novel cannabinoid-sensitive receptor mediates inhibition of glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the hippocampus. Neuroscience 106:1-4]. In contrast, we report here that in extracellular field recordings, the cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2 (5 microM) had no effect on Schaffer collateral/commissural fiber-CA1 pyramidal cell (Sch-CA1) synaptic transmission in slices from two independently made cannabinoid receptor 1-/- lines [Zimmer et al 1999 and Ledent et al 1999] while strongly suppressing Sch-CA1 synaptic transmission in CB1+/+ mice of the background strains. Also, we observed robust cannabinoid-mediated suppression of the Sch-CA1 synapse in pure C57BL/6 mice, contradicting a recent report that cannabinoid suppression of this synapse is absent in this strain [Hoffman AF, Macgill AM, Smith D, Oz M, Lupica CR (2005) Species and strain differences in the expression of a novel glutamate-modulating cannabinoid receptor in the rodent hippocampus. Eur J Neurosci 22:2387-2391]. Our results strongly suggest that cannabinoid-induced suppression of the Sch-CA1 synapse is mediated by CB1. Non-canonical cannabinoid receptors do not seem to play a major role in inhibiting transmitter release at this synapse.
Neuroscience (2006); 3(139): 795-802
CB1 and TRPV1 receptors mediate protective effects on colonic electrophysiological properties in mice.
CB1 and TRPV1 receptors modulate enteric neurotransmission and colonic inflammation. This study investigates early electrophysiological changes in distal colon of wild-type and receptor deficient mice after an inflammatory insult set by dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS). Colitis was induced by DNBS in CB1(-/-) mice, TRPV1(-/-) mice, and their respective wild-type littermates. Electrophysiological properties consisting of membrane potentials and electrically induced inhibitory junction potentials (IJP) of circular smooth muscle cells were evaluated at different time points. Additionally a histological colitis severity score was evaluated in CB1(+/+) and CB1(-/-) mice 24 h after DNBS. Inflammation caused spontaneous atropine insensitive rhythmic action potentials in CB1(-/-) and TRPV1(-/-) mice but not in wild-type animals. This indicates that membrane stability is disturbed, which in turn indicates a lack of protective mechanisms. Focal electrical neuronal stimulation of the myenteric plexus induced IJP in the smooth muscle cells. Twenty-four hours after initiation of inflammation, the duration of the IJP is prolonged in all animals, indicating disturbances within neuromuscular interaction. In CB1(-/-) mice, it is interesting that the duration of IJP was significantly extended, as compared to CB1(+/+) mice pointing toward missing protective mechanisms in the CB1(-/-) mice. Inflammatory insults in the mouse colon induce reproducible changes in the electrophysiological properties and such changes correlate with duration of colitis. In mutants, these electrophysiological changes display different patterns, suggesting the lack of protective properties for neuromuscular interactions and membrane stability.
J. Mol. Med. Jun (2006); 6(84): 513-20
The endocannabinoid system promotes astroglial differentiation by acting on neural progenitor cells.
Endocannabinoids exert an important neuromodulatory role via presynaptic cannabinoid CB1 receptors and may also participate in the control of neural cell death and survival. The function of the endocannabinoid system has been extensively studied in differentiated neurons, but its potential role in neural progenitor cells remains to be elucidated. Here we show that the CB1 receptor and the endocannabinoid-inactivating enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase are expressed, both in vitro and in vivo, in postnatal radial glia (RC2+ cells) and in adult nestin type I (nestin(+)GFAP+) neural progenitor cells. Cell culture experiments show that CB1 receptor activation increases progenitor proliferation and differentiation into astroglial cells in vitro. In vivo analysis evidences that, in postnatal CB1(-/-) mouse brain, progenitor proliferation and astrogliogenesis are impaired. Likewise, in adult CB1-deficient mice, neural progenitor proliferation is decreased but is increased in fatty acid amide hydrolase-deficient mice. In addition, endocannabinoid signaling controls neural progenitor differentiation in the adult brain by promoting astroglial differentiation of newly born cells. These results show a novel physiological role of endocannabinoids, which constitute a new family of signaling cues involved in the regulation of neural progenitor cell function.
J. Neurosci. Feb (2006); 5(26): 1551-61
Expression of opioid receptors and c-fos in CB1 knockout mice exposed to neuropathic pain.
The development of neuropathic pain is associated with multiple changes in gene expression occurring in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and spinal cord. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether the disruption of CB1 cannabinoid receptor gene modulates the changes induced by neuropathic pain in the expression of mu- (MOR), delta- (DOR) and kappa-opioid receptors (KOR) mRNA levels in the DRG and spinal cord. The induction of c-fos expression in the lumbar and sacral regions of the spinal cord was also evaluated in these animals. Opioid receptors mRNA levels were determined by using real-time PCR and Fos protein levels by immunohistochemistry. Nerve injury significantly reduced the expression of MOR in the DRG and the lumbar section of the spinal cord from CB1 cannabinoid knockout (KO) mice and wild-type littermates (WT). In contrast, mRNA levels of DOR and KOR were not significantly changed in any of the different sections analysed. Furthermore, sciatic nerve injury evoked a similar increase of c-fos expression in lumbar and sacral regions of the spinal cord of both KO and WT. In all instances, no significant differences were observed between WT and KO mice. These data revealed specific changes induced by neuropathic pain in MOR expression and c-fos levels in the DRG and/or spinal cord that were not modified by the genetic disruption of CB1 cannabinoid receptors.
Neuropharmacology Jan (2006); 1(50): 123-32
Endocannabinoids control the induction of cerebellar LTD.
The long-term depression (LTD) of parallel fiber (PF) synapses onto Purkinje cells plays a central role in motor learning. Endocannabinoid release and LTD induction both depend upon activation of the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR1, require postsynaptic calcium increases, are synapse specific, and have a similar dependence on the associative activation of PF and climbing fiber synapses. These similarities suggest that endocannabinoid release could account for many features of cerebellar LTD. Here we show that LTD induction is blocked by a cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) antagonist, by inhibiting the synthesis of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG), and is absent in mice lacking the CB1R. Although CB1Rs are prominently expressed presynaptically at PF synapses, LTD is expressed postsynaptically. In contrast, a previously described transient form of inhibition mediated by endocannabinoids is expressed presynaptically. This indicates that Purkinje cells release 2-AG that activates CB1Rs to both transiently inhibit release and induce a postsynaptic form of LTD.
Neuron Nov (2005); 4(48): 647-59
Kappa- and delta-opioid receptor functional activities are increased in the caudate putamen of cannabinoid CB1 receptor knockout mice.
The purpose of this study was to examine the functional interaction between endogenous opioid and cannabinoid receptor systems in the caudate putamen and nucleus accumbens. We therefore examined by autoradiography the functional activity and density of micro-, kappa- and delta-opioid receptors in both brain regions of cannabinoid CB1 receptor knockout mice. Functional activity was estimated by measuring agonist-stimulated [35S]GTPgammaS binding. Results showed that deletion of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor markedly increased kappa-opioid (50%) and delta-opioid (42%) receptor activities whereas no differences were found in micro-opioid receptor in the caudate putamen. In contrast, binding autoradiography showed a similar density of micro-, kappa- and delta-opioid receptors between mutant and wild-type mice. No differences were found in densities or activities of micro-, kappa- and delta-opioid receptors between mutant and wild-type mice in the nucleus accumbens. Taken together, our results revealed that deletion of CB1 cannabinoid receptors produced a pronounced increase in the activity of kappa- and delta-opioid receptors in the caudate putamen. This endogenous interaction between opioid and cannabinoid receptors may be relevant to further understand a variety of neuroadaptative processes involving the participation of opioid receptors, such as motor behaviour, emotional responses and drug dependence.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Oct (2005); 8(22): 2106-10
CB1 receptor knockout mice show similar behavioral modifications to wild-type mice when enkephalin catabolism is inhibited.
Behavioral and biochemical studies have suggested a functional link between the endogenous cannabinoid and opioid systems. Different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the interactions between opioid and cannabinoid systems such as a common pathway stimulating the dopaminergic system, a facilitation of signal-transduction- and/or a cannabinoid-induced enhancement of opioid peptide release. However, at this time, all the studies have been performed with exogenous agonists (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or morphine), leading to a generally excessive stimulation of receptors normally stimulated by endogenous effectors (anandamide or opioid peptides) in various brain structures. To overcome this problem, we have measured various behavioral responses induced by the stimulation of the endogenous opioid system using the dual inhibitor of enkephalin-degrading enzymes, RB101, in CB1 receptor knockout mice. Thus, analgesia, locomotor activity, anxiety and antidepressant-like effects were measured after RB101 administration (80 and 120 mg/kg i.p. or 10 mg/kg, i.v.) in CB1 receptor knockout mice and their wild-type littermates. In all the experiments, inhibition of enkephalin catabolism produced similar modifications in behavior observed in CB1 knockout and wild-type mice. These results suggest limited physiological interaction between cannabinoid and opioid systems.
Brain Res. Nov (2005); 1(1063): 77-83
Early age-related cognitive impairment in mice lacking cannabinoid CB1 receptors.
The molecular mechanisms contributing to the normal age-related decline of cognitive functions or to pathological learning and memory impairment are largely unknown. We demonstrate here that young mice (6-7 weeks) with a genetic deletion of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor performed as well as WT mice, or often better, in a number of learning and memory paradigms, including animal models of skill-learning, partner recognition, and operant conditioning. In contrast, the performance of mature mice (3-5 months) lacking CB1 receptors was much worse than that of age-matched WT animals. In most tests, these mice performed at the same level as old animals (14-17 months), suggesting that the decline in cognitive functions is accelerated in the absence of CB1 receptors. This rapid decline in CB1-deficient animals is accompanied by a loss of neurons in the CA1 and CA3 regions of the hippocampus.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Oct (2005); 43(102): 15670-5
Development and expression of neuropathic pain in CB1 knockout mice.
Neuropathic pain is a clinical manifestation characterized by the presence of spontaneous pain, allodynia and hyperalgesia. Here, we have evaluated the involvement of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the development and expression of neuropathic pain. For this purpose, partial ligation of the sciatic nerve was performed in CB1 cannabinoid receptor knockout mice and their wild-type littermates. The development of mechanical and thermal allodynia, and thermal hyperalgesia was evaluated by using the von Frey filaments, cold-plate and plantar tests, respectively. Pre-surgical tactile and thermal withdrawal thresholds were similar in both genotypes. In wild-type mice, sciatic nerve injury led to a neuropathic pain syndrome characterized by a marked and long-lasting reduction of the paw withdrawal thresholds to mechanical and thermal stimuli. These manifestations developed similarly in mice lacking CB1 cannabinoid receptors. We have also investigated the consequences of gabapentin administration in these animals. Gabapentin (50 mg/kg/day, i.p.) induced a similar suppression of mechanical and thermal allodynia in both wild-type and CB1 knockout mice. Mild differences between genotypes were observed concerning the effect of gabapentin in the expression of thermal hyperalgesia. Taken together, our results indicate that CB1 cannabinoid receptors are not critically implicated in the development of neuropathic pain nor in the anti-allodynic and anti-hyperalgesic effects of gabapentin in this model.
Neuropharmacology Jan (2006); 1(50): 111-22
Fatty acid amide hydrolase controls mouse intestinal motility in vivo.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) catalyzes the hydrolysis both of the endocannabinoids (which are known to inhibit intestinal motility) and other bioactive amides (palmitoylethanolamide, oleamide, and oleoylethanolamide), which might affect intestinal motility. The physiologic role of FAAH in the gut is largely unexplored. In the present study, we evaluated the possible role of FAAH in regulating intestinal motility in mice in vivo. METHODS: Motility was measured by evaluating the distribution of a fluorescent marker along the small intestine; FAAH messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were analyzed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR); endocannabinoid levels were measured by isotope-dilution, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry. RESULTS: Motility was inhibited by N-arachidonoylserotonin (AA-5-HT) and palmitoylisopropylamide, 2 selective FAAH inhibitors, as well as by the FAAH substrates palmitoylethanolamide, oleamide, and oleoylethanolamide. The effect of AA-5-HT was reduced by the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant and by CB1 deficiency in mice but not by the vanilloid receptor antagonist 5'-iodoresiniferatoxin. In FAAH-deficient mice, pharmacologic blockade of FAAH did not affect intestinal motility. FAAH mRNA was detected in different regions of the intestinal tract. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that FAAH is a physiologic regulator of intestinal motility and a potential target for the development of drugs capable of reducing intestinal motility.
Gastroenterology Sep (2005); 3(129): 941-51
Antisense transcription in the mammalian transcriptome.
Antisense transcription (transcription from the opposite strand to a protein-coding or sense strand) has been ascribed roles in gene regulation involving degradation of the corresponding sense transcripts (RNA interference), as well as gene silencing at the chromatin level. Global transcriptome analysis provides evidence that a large proportion of the genome can produce transcripts from both strands, and that antisense transcripts commonly link neighboring "genes" in complex loci into chains of linked transcriptional units. Expression profiling reveals frequent concordant regulation of sense/antisense pairs. We present experimental evidence that perturbation of an antisense RNA can alter the expression of sense messenger RNAs, suggesting that antisense transcription contributes to control of transcriptional outputs in mammals.
Science Sep (2005); 5740(309): 1564-6
The transcriptional landscape of the mammalian genome.
This study describes comprehensive polling of transcription start and termination sites and analysis of previously unidentified full-length complementary DNAs derived from the mouse genome. We identify the 5' and 3' boundaries of 181,047 transcripts with extensive variation in transcripts arising from alternative promoter usage, splicing, and polyadenylation. There are 16,247 new mouse protein-coding transcripts, including 5154 encoding previously unidentified proteins. Genomic mapping of the transcriptome reveals transcriptional forests, with overlapping transcription on both strands, separated by deserts in which few transcripts are observed. The data provide a comprehensive platform for the comparative analysis of mammalian transcriptional regulation in differentiation and development.
Science Sep (2005); 5740(309): 1559-63
Ethanol self-administration and ethanol conditioned place preference are reduced in mice lacking cannabinoid CB1 receptors.
Cannabinoids are postulated to play a role in modulating the reinforcing effects of abused drugs, including alcohol. Experiment 1 examined alcohol self-administration in cannabinoid CB1 receptor knockout (KO), heterozygous (HT) and wild type (WT) mice in a two-bottle choice paradigm. Mice were trained in a limited 8 h access/day to 10% (v/v) EtOH (EtOH) versus water. After baseline drinking levels (% EtOH preference and total EtOH intake (g/kg)), results indicated that the CB1 knockout mice displayed significantly lower baseline EtOH consumption compared to wild type mice. Subsequently, treatment with SR141716A (5mg/kg) significantly attenuated EtOH intake in the WT and HT mice but had little effect on the knockout mice. Experiment 2 examined the CB1 WT and CB1 KO strains in a conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure between saline and 2g/kg EtOH. The CB1 WT mice spent significantly more time in the EtOH-paired versus saline-paired chambers, whereas no significant preference was observed in the CB1 KO mice. Finally, we observed that CB1 KO mice were significantly lighter than WT and HT and that SR141716A did not significantly alter body weight. These results demonstrate that the cannabinoid CB1 receptor is an essential component of the molecular pathways underlying the reinforcing effects of alcohol. Thus, medications targeting the CB1 receptors may be beneficial for the treatment of alcoholism.
Behav. Brain Res. Nov (2005); 2(164): 206-13
Cocaine- and amphetamine-related transcript is involved in the orexigenic effect of endogenous anandamide.
Endocannabinoids acting at CB1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) increase appetite. In view of the predominant presynaptic localization of CB1 in the brain, we tested the hypothesis that the orexigenic effect of endocannabinoids involves inhibition of the release of a tonically active anorexigenic mediator, such as the peptide product of the cocaine- and amphetamine-related transcript (CART). The CB1 antagonist rimonabant inhibited food intake in food-restricted wild-type mice, but not in their CART-deficient littermates. Mice deficient in fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme responsible for the in vivo metabolism of the endocannabinoid anandamide, have reduced levels of CART-immunoreactive nerve fibers and terminals in several brain regions implicated in appetite control, including the arcuate, dorsomedial and periventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus, the amygdala, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the nucleus accumbens, and treatment of FAAH(-/-) mice with rimonabant, 3 mg/kg/day for 7 days, increased CART levels toward those seen in FAAH(+/+) wild-type controls. In contrast, no difference in the density of CART-immunoreactive fibers was observed in the median eminence and the paraventricular nucleus of FAAH(+/+) and FAAH(-/-) mice. Acute treatment of wild-type mice with the cannabinoid agonist HU-210 resulted in elevated CART levels in the dorsomedial nucleus and the shell portion of the nucleus accumbens. These observations are compatible with CART being a downstream mediator of the CB1-mediated orexigenic effect of endogenous anandamide.
Neuroendocrinology (2005); 4(81): 273-82
Cannabinoid-receptor 1 null mice are susceptible to neurofilament damage and caspase 3 activation.
Administered cannabinoids have been shown to ameliorate signs of CNS inflammatory disease in a number of animal models, including allergic encephalomyelitis. More recently, neuroprotective actions have been attributed to activation of the cannabinoid 1 receptor in a number of in vitro and in vivo models. One of these, chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, is considered a robust analog of multiple sclerosis. In this study, spinal cord tissue from cannabinoid receptor 1 knockout mice was analyzed for neurofilament H and myelin basic protein content, as markers of neurons/axons and myelin respectively, during the course of chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. Dephosphorylation of a neurofilament H epitope, immunoreactive to the SMI32 antibody, was assessed as a marker of axonal damage and levels of the endpoint cell death mediator caspase 3 were evaluated. It was found that both neurofilament and myelin basic protein levels decrease over the course of disease, indicating concomitant neuronal/axonal loss and demyelination. Loss of each marker was more severe in cannabinoid receptor 1 knockout animals. Increased SMI32 reactivity was observed as disease progressed. SMI32 reactivity was significantly increased in knockout animals over wildtype counterparts, an indication of greater axonal dephosphorylation and injury. Active caspase 3 levels were increased in all animals during disease, with knockout animals displaying highest levels, even in knockout animals prior to disease induction. These results indicate that lack of the cannabinoid receptor 1 is associated with increased caspase activation and greater loss and/or compromise of myelin and axonal/neuronal proteins. The increase of caspase 3 in knockout mice prior to disease induction indicates a latent physiological effect of the missing receptor. The data presented further strengthen the hypothesis of neuroprotection elicited via cannabinoid receptor 1 signaling.
Neuroscience (2005); 1(134): 261-8
Genetic deletion of CB1 receptors improves non-associative learning.
Habituation (a form of non-associative learning) was measured by assessing locomotion in novel activity monitors in CB1 receptor knockout mice and juxtaposed to habituation measured in muscarinic M2, M4, and double M2/M4 receptor knockout mice. M2 and M2/M4, but not M4, receptor knockout mice appeared to have an impaired ability to habituate, whereas CB1 receptor knockout mice showed enhanced habituation compared to wild-type animals. We conclude that CB1 receptor gene invalidation improves habituation tentatively through an increase in cholinergic neurotransmission.
Behav. Brain Res. Jul (2005); 1(162): 161-4
Regulation of bone mass, bone loss and osteoclast activity by cannabinoid receptors.
Accelerated osteoclastic bone resorption has a central role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Identifying the molecular pathways that regulate osteoclast activity provides a key to understanding the causes of these diseases and to the development of new treatments. Here we show that mice with inactivation of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors have increased bone mass and are protected from ovariectomy-induced bone loss. Pharmacological antagonists of CB1 and CB2 receptors prevented ovariectomy-induced bone loss in vivo and caused osteoclast inhibition in vitro by promoting osteoclast apoptosis and inhibiting production of several osteoclast survival factors. These studies show that the CB1 receptor has a role in the regulation of bone mass and ovariectomy-induced bone loss and that CB1- and CB2-selective cannabinoid receptor antagonists are a new class of osteoclast inhibitors that may be of value in the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Nat. Med. Jul (2005); 7(11): 774-9
Endocannabinoid activation at hepatic CB1 receptors stimulates fatty acid synthesis and contributes to diet-induced obesity.
Endogenous cannabinoids acting at CB(1) receptors stimulate appetite, and CB(1) antagonists show promise in the treatment of obesity. CB(1) (-/-) mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity even though their caloric intake is similar to that of wild-type mice, suggesting that endocannabinoids also regulate fat metabolism. Here, we investigated the possible role of endocannabinoids in the regulation of hepatic lipogenesis. Activation of CB(1) in mice increases the hepatic gene expression of the lipogenic transcription factor SREBP-1c and its targets acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Treatment with a CB(1) agonist also increases de novo fatty acid synthesis in the liver or in isolated hepatocytes, which express CB(1). High-fat diet increases hepatic levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide), CB(1) density, and basal rates of fatty acid synthesis, and the latter is reduced by CB(1) blockade. In the hypothalamus, where FAS inhibitors elicit anorexia, SREBP-1c and FAS expression are similarly affected by CB(1) ligands. We conclude that anandamide acting at hepatic CB(1) contributes to diet-induced obesity and that the FAS pathway may be a common molecular target for central appetitive and peripheral metabolic regulation.
J. Clin. Invest. May (2005); 5(115): 1298-305
Involvement of cannabinoid receptors in the regulation of neurotransmitter release in the rodent striatum: a combined immunochemical and pharmacological analysis.
Despite the profound effect of cannabinoids on motor function, and their therapeutic potential in Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, the cellular and subcellular distributions of striatal CB1 receptors are not well defined. Here, we show that CB1 receptors are primarily located on GABAergic (vesicular GABA transporter-positive) and glutamatergic [vesicular glutamate transporter-1 (VGLUT-1)- and VGLUT-2-positive] striatal nerve terminals and are present in the presynaptic active zone, in the postsynaptic density, as well as in the extrasynaptic membrane. Both the nonselective agonist WIN552122 [(R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3[(4-morpholinyl)methyl] pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazinyl]-(1-naphthalenyl)methanone mesylate salt] (EC50, 32 nM) and the CB1-selective agonist ACEA [N-(2-chloroethyl)-5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z-eicosatetraenamide] inhibited [3H]GABA release from rat striatal slices. The effect of these agonists was prevented by the CB1-selective antagonists SR141716A [N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide] (1 microM) and AM251 [1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-4-methyl-N-1-piperidinyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide trifluoroacetate salt] (1 microM), indicating that cannabinoids inhibit the release of GABA via activation of presynaptic CB1 receptors. Cannabinoids modulated glutamate release via both CB1 and non-CB1 mechanisms. Cannabinoid agonists and antagonists inhibited 25 mM K+-evoked [3H]glutamate release and sodium-dependent [3H]glutamate uptake. Partial involvement of CB1 receptors is suggested because low concentrations of SR141716A partly and AM251 fully prevented the effect of WIN552122 and CP55940 [5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[5-hydroxy-2-(3-hydroxypropyl)cyclohexyl]phenol]. However, the effect of CB1 agonists and antagonists persisted in CB1 knock-out mice, indicating the involvement of non-CB1,CB1-like receptors. In contrast, cannabinoids did not modulate [3H]dopamine release or [3H]dopamine and [3H]GABA uptake. Our results indicate distinct modulation of striatal GABAergic and glutamatergic transmission by cannabinoids and will facilitate the understanding of the role and importance of the cannabinoid system in normal and pathological motor function.
J. Neurosci. Mar (2005); 11(25): 2874-84
Cannabinoid CB1 receptor is dispensable for memory extinction in an appetitively-motivated learning task.
The interaction of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor with its endogenous ligands plays an essential role in extinction of aversive memories (Marsicano, G., Wotjak, C.T., Azad, S.C., Bisogno, T., Rammes, G., Cascio, M.G., Hermann, H., Tang, J., Hofmann, C., Zieglgansberger, W., Di, M., V, Lutz, B., 2002. The endogenous cannabinoid system controls extinction of aversive memories. Nature 418, 530-534). The present study tested the generality of this observation in respect to positively-reinforced memories. To this end, male cannabinoid CB1 receptor deficient mice (CB1R-/-) and their wild-type littermate controls (CB1R+/+) were trained in an appetitively-motivated operant conditioning task, in which food-deprived animals received a food reward on nose-poking into an illuminated hole. During training, CB1R-/- turned out to be less motivated to participate in the task. After further restriction of daily food consumption, however, CB1R-/- reached the same level of performance as CB1R+/+ as far as number of correct responses and errors of omission are concerned. The accuracy of performance served as a measure for the memory of the light-reward association and was stable at similarly high levels over a retention period of 9 days without additional training (97.6+/-0.5% vs. 97.0+/-0.9% correct responses). During subsequent extinction training, the positive reinforcement was omitted. As a consequence, both CB1R-/- and CB1R+/+ showed a similar decline in accuracy of performance and total number of correct responses, accompanied by an increase in errors of omission. These data demonstrate that the cannabinoid CB1 receptor is not essential for extinction of the stimulus-response association in an appetitively-motivated learning task.
Eur. J. Pharmacol. Mar (2005); 1(510): 69-74
CB1 cannabinoid receptors are involved in neuroprotection via NF-kappa B inhibition.
We reported earlier that closed head injury (CHI) in mice causes a sharp elevation of brain 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) levels, and that exogenous 2-AG reduces brain edema, infarct volume and hippocampal death and improved clinical recovery after CHI. The beneficial effect of 2-AG was attenuated by SR141716A, a CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist, albeit at relatively high doses. In the present study, we further explored the role of CB1 receptors in mediating 2-AG neuroprotection. CB1 receptor knockout mice (CB1-/-) showed minor spontaneous recovery at 24 h after CHI, in contrast to the significant improvement in neurobehavioral function seen in wild-type (WT) mice. Moreover, administration of 2-AG did not improve neurological performance and edema formation in the CB1-/- mice. In addition, 2-AG abolished the three- to four-fold increase of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappa B) transactivation, at 24 h after CHI in the WT mice, while it had no effect on NF-kappaB in the CB1-/- mice, which was as high as in the WT vehicle-treated mice. We thus propose that 2-AG exerts its neuroprotection after CHI, at least in part, via CB1 receptor-mediated mechanisms that involve inhibition of intracellular inflammatory signaling pathways.
J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab. Apr (2005); 4(25): 477-84
Coexpression of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 with the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor type 1 in distinct regions of the adult mouse forebrain.
The high abundance of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in the brain and the discovery of its endogenous ligands possessing neuromodulatory activities suggest an important potential of the endocannabinoid system to influence the functions of other receptor systems in the brain, including the corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) system. Several studies evidenced a cross-talk between these two receptor systems. In trying to detail functional interactions between CB1 and the CRH receptor type 1 (CRHR1), we performed double-label-in situ hybridisation on mouse forebrain sections to localise the transcripts encoding the two receptors at a cellular level. Colocalisation of both receptor mRNAs was only detected in low CB1-expressing cells, which are mainly principal projecting neurons, whereas high CB1-expressing cells, which are considered to be mostly GABAergic did not contain mRNA encoding CRHR1. CB1 is differentially coexpressed with CRHR1 in olfactory regions, in several cortical and limbic structures, and in some hypothalamic and thalamic nuclei. These observations suggest a complex mechanism underlying the mutual interrelation and modulation of the two receptor systems. In particular, high levels of coexpressing cells in cortical and limbic areas may relate to cognitive functions, such as working memory, emotional and declarative learning. Colocalisation of CB1 and CRHR1 in hypothalamic regions strongly suggests functional interactions regarding the neuroendocrine homeostasis, including feeding behaviour.
Neurosci. Lett. Feb (2005); 1(375): 13-8
Disruption of CB(1) receptor signaling impairs extinction of spatial memory in mice.
RATIONALE: A growing body of in vitro and in vivo evidence indicates that a central endocannabinoid system, consisting of CB(1) receptors and endogenous cannabinoids, modulates specific aspects of mnemonic processes. Previous research has demonstrated that either permanent or drug-induced disruption of CB(1) receptor signaling interferes with the extinction of a conditioned fear response. OBJECTIVES: In the present study, we evaluated whether the endocannabinoid system also plays a role in extinguishing learned escape behavior in a Morris water maze task. METHODS: CB(1) (-/-) mice and mice repeatedly treated with 3 mg/kg of the CB(1) receptor antagonist SR 141716 (Rimonabant) were trained to locate a hidden platform in the Morris water maze. Following acquisition, the platform was removed and subjects were assigned to either a massed (i.e., five consecutive sessions consisting of four 2-min trials/session) or a spaced (a single, 1-min trial every 2-4 weeks) extinction protocol. RESULTS: Strikingly, both 3 mg/kg SR 141716-treated mice and CB(1) (-/-) mice continued to return to the target location across all five trials in the spaced extinction procedure, while the control mice underwent extinction by the third or fourth trial. In contrast, both the 3-mg/kg SR 141716-treated and CB(1) (-/-) mice exhibited extinction in the massed extinction trial procedure. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that disruption of CB(1) receptor signaling impairs extinction processes in the Morris water maze, thus lending further support to the hypothesis that the endocannabinoid system plays an integral role in the suppression of non-reinforced learned behaviors.
Psychopharmacology (Berl.) Jun (2005); 4(179): 863-72
Structure, expression and regulation of the cannabinoid receptor gene (CB1) in Huntington's disease transgenic mice.
Loss of cannabinoid receptors (CB1) occurs prior to neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease (HD). The levels and distribution of CB1 RNA were equivalent in 3-week-old mice regardless of genotype demonstrating that the specific factors and appropriate chromatin structure that lead to the transcription of CB1 were present in the striatum of young R6/2 and R6/1 transgenic HD mice. The expression of the mutant HD transgene led progressively to decreased steady-state levels of CB1 mRNA in neurons of the lateral striatum, which was dependent on the size of the CAG repeat and relative expression of the gene encoding mutant huntingtin (HD). Although it is known that the coding region of CB1 is contained within a single exon in mice, rats and humans, the 5'-untranslated region of the mouse gene remained to be defined. CB1 mRNA is encoded by two exons separated by an 18.4-kb intron. Transcription of CB1 occurred at multiple sites within a GC-rich promoter region upstream of exon 1 encoding the 5'-UTR of CB1. There was no difference in the selection of specific transcription initiation sites associated with higher levels of CB1 expression in the striatum compared to the cortex or between the striata of wild-type and HD transgenic mice. The progressive decline in CB1 mRNA levels in R6 compared to wild-type mice was due to decreased transcription, which is consistent with the hypothesis that mutant huntingtin exerts its effects by altering transcription factor activity. The cell-specific conditions that allow for increased transcription of CB1 in the lateral striatum compared to other forebrain regions from all transcription start sites were affected by the expression of mutant huntingtin in a time-dependent manner.
Eur. J. Biochem. Dec (2004); 23(271): 4909-20
Circuitry for associative plasticity in the amygdala involves endocannabinoid signaling.
Endocannabinoids are crucial for the extinction of aversive memories, a process that considerably involves the amygdala. Here, we show that low-frequency stimulation of afferents in the lateral amygdala with 100 pulses at 1 Hz releases endocannabinoids postsynaptically from neurons of the basolateral amygdala of mice in vitro and thereby induces a long-term depression of inhibitory GABAergic synaptic transmission (LTDi) via a presynaptic mechanism. Lowering inhibitory synaptic transmission significantly increases the amplitude of excitatory synaptic currents in principal neurons of the central nucleus, which is the main output site of the amygdala. LTDi involves a selective mGluR1 (metabotropic glutamate receptor 1)-mediated calcium-independent mechanism and the activation of the adenylyl cyclase-protein kinase A pathway. LTDi is abolished by the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor antagonist SR141716A and cannot be evoked in CB1 receptor-deficient animals. LTDi is significantly enhanced in mice lacking the anandamide-degrading enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase. The present findings show for the first time that mGluR activation induces a retrograde endocannabinoid signaling via activation of the adenylyl cyclase-protein kinase A pathway and the release of anandamide. Furthermore, the results indicate that anandamide decreases the activity of inhibitory interneurons in the amygdala. This disinhibition increases the activity of common output neurons and could provide a prerequisite for extinction by formation of new memory.
J. Neurosci. Nov (2004); 44(24): 9953-61
Electrical coupling among irregular-spiking GABAergic interneurons expressing cannabinoid receptors.
Anatomical studies have shown that the G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1) is selectively expressed in a subset of GABAergic interneurons. It has been proposed that these cells regulate rhythmic activity and play a key role mediating the cognitive actions of marijuana and endogenous cannabinoids. However, the physiology, anatomy, and synaptic connectivity of neocortical CB1-expressing interneurons remain poorly studied. We identified a population of CB1-expressing interneurons in layer II/III in mouse neocortical slices. These cells were multipolar or bitufted, had a widely extending axon, and exhibited a characteristic pattern of irregular spiking (IS) in response to current injection. CB1-expressing-IS (CB1-IS) cells were inhibitory, establishing GABAA receptor-mediated synapses onto pyramidal cells and other CB1-IS cells. Recently, electrical coupling among other classes of cortical interneurons has been shown to contribute to the generation of rhythmic synchronous activity in the neocortex. We therefore tested whether CB1-IS interneurons are interconnected via electrical synapses using paired recordings. We found that 90% (19 of 21 pairs) of simultaneously recorded pairs of CB1-IS cells were electrically coupled. The average coupling coefficient was 6%. Signaling through electrical synapses promoted coordinated firing among CB1-IS cells. Together, our results identify a population of electrically coupled CB1-IS GABAergic interneurons in the neocortex that share a unique morphology and a characteristic pattern of irregular spiking in response to current injection. The synaptic interactions of these cells may play an important role mediating the cognitive actions of cannabinoids and regulating coherent neocortical activity.
J. Neurosci. Nov (2004); 44(24): 9770-8
Gene discovery by microarray: identification of novel genes induced during growth factor-mediated muscle cell survival and differentiation.
Peptide growth factors regulate cell fate by activating distinct signal transduction pathways that ultimately influence gene expression. Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) play central roles in controlling somatic growth and participate in skeletal muscle development and regeneration. In cultured muscle cells, IGF action is critical both for maintaining viability during the transition from proliferating to differentiating myoblasts and for facilitating differentiation. By contrast, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) can sustain cell survival but inhibits differentiation. Here we examine the genetic programs that accompany IGF and PDGF action in myoblasts. Through analysis of high-density oligonucleotide arrays containing approximately 36,000 mouse probe sets, we identify 90 transcripts differentially induced by IGF-I, including 28 muscle-specific genes and 33 previously unannotated mRNAs, and 55 transcripts specifically stimulated by PDGF, including 14 unknowns. Detailed study of one IGF-induced mRNA shows that it encodes a protein related to a recently characterized repulsive guidance molecule postulated to regulate neuronal targeting during development. Our results demonstrate the power of transcriptional profiling for gene discovery and provide opportunities for investigating new proteins potentially involved in different aspects of growth factor action in muscle.
Genomics Nov (2004); 5(84): 876-89
CB1 cannabinoid receptors modulate kinase and phosphatase activity during extinction of conditioned fear in mice.
Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) play a central role in both short-term and long-term extinction of auditory-cued fear memory. The molecular mechanisms underlying this function remain to be clarified. Several studies indicated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs), the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase with its downstream effector AKT, and the phosphatase calcineurin as potential molecular substrates of extinction behavior. To test the involvement of these kinase and phosphatase activities in CB1-dependent extinction of conditioned fear behavior, conditioned CB1-deficient mice (CB1(-/-)) and wild-type littermates (CB1(+/+)) were sacrificed 30 min after recall of fear memory, and activation of ERKs, AKT, and calcineurin was examined by Western blot analysis in different brain regions. As compared with CB1(+/+), the nonreinforced tone presentation 24 h after auditory-cued fear conditioning led to lower levels of phosphorylated ERKs and/or calcineurin in the basolateral amygdala complex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, dorsal hippocampus, and ventral hippocampus of CB1(-/-). In contrast, higher levels of phosphorylated p44 ERK and calcineurin were observed in the central nucleus of the amygdala of CB1(-/-). Phosphorylation of AKT was more pronounced in the basolateral amygdala complex and the dorsal hippocampus of CB1(-/-). We propose that the endogenous cannabinoid system modulates extinction of aversive memories, at least in part via regulation of the activity of kinases and phosphatases in a brain structure-dependent manner.
Learn. Mem. (); 5(11): 625-32
CB1 receptor knockout mice display reduced ethanol-induced conditioned place preference and increased striatal dopamine D2 receptors.
Cannabinoids and ethanol activate the same reward pathways, and recent advances in the understanding of the neurobiological basis of alcoholism suggest that the CB1 receptor system may play a key role in the reinforcing effects of ethanol and in modulating ethanol intake. In the present study, male CB1 receptors knockout mice generated on a CD1 background displayed decreased ethanol-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) compared to wild-type (CB1(+/+)) mice. Ethanol (0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 g/kg) induced significant CPP in CB1(+/+) mice at all doses tested, whereas it induced significant CPP only at the highest dose of ethanol (2.0 g/kg) in CB1(-/-) mice. However, there was no genotypic difference in cocaine (20 mg/kg)-induced CPP. There was also no genotypic difference, neither in cocaine (10-50 mg/kg) nor in D-amphetamine (1.2-5 mg/kg)-induced locomotor effects. In addition, mutant and wild-type mice did not differ in sensitivity to the anxiolytic effects of ethanol (1.5 g/kg) when tested using the elevated plus maze. Interestingly, this decrease in ethanol efficacy to induce CPP in CB1(-/-) mice was correlated with an increase in D2/D3 receptors, as determined by [3H]raclopride binding, whereas there was no difference in D1-like receptors, as determined by [3H]SCH23390 binding, measured in the striatum from drug-naive mice. This increase in D2/D3 binding sites observed in CB1 knockout mice was associated with an altered locomotor response to the D2/D3 agonist quinpirole (low doses 0.02-0.1 mg/kg) but not to an alteration of quinpirole (0.1-1.0 mg/kg)-induced CPP compared to wild-type mice. Altogether, the present results indicate that lifelong deletion of CB1 receptors reduced ethanol-induced CPP and that these reduced rewarding effects of ethanol are correlated to an overexpression of striatal dopamine D2 receptors.
Neuropsychopharmacology Feb (2005); 2(30): 339-49
Aberrant cannabinoid signaling impairs oviductal transport of embryos.
Ectopic pregnancy is a major reproductive health issue. Although other underlying causes remain largely unknown, one cause of ectopic pregnancy is embryo retention in the fallopian tube. Here we show that genetic or pharmacologic silencing of cannabinoid receptor CB1 causes retention of a large number of embryos in the mouse oviduct, eventually leading to pregnancy failure. This is reversed by isoproterenol, a beta-adrenergic receptor agonist. Impaired oviductal embryo transport is also observed in wild-type mice treated with methanandamide. Collectively, the results suggest that aberrant cannabinoid signaling impedes coordinated oviductal smooth muscle contraction and relaxation crucial to normal oviductal embryo transport. Colocalization of CB1 and beta2-adrenergic receptors in the oviduct muscularis implies that a basal endocannabinoid tone in collaboration with adrenergic receptors coordinates oviductal motility for normal journey of embryos into the uterus. Besides uncovering a new regulatory mechanism, this study could be clinically relevant to ectopic pregnancy.
Nat. Med. Oct (2004); 10(10): 1074-80
Structural mimicry in class A G protein-coupled receptor rotamer toggle switches: the importance of the F3.36(201)/W6.48(357) interaction in cannabinoid CB1 receptor activation.
In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a CB(1) TMH3-4-5-6 aromatic microdomain, which includes F3.25(190), F3.36(201), W5.43(280), and W6.48(357), is centrally involved in CB(1) receptor activation, with the F3.36(201)/W6.48(357) interaction key to the maintenance of the CB(1)-inactive state. We have shown previously that when F3.36(201), W5.43(280), and W6.48(357) are individually mutated to alanine, a significant reduction in ligand binding affinity is observed in the presence of WIN 55,212-2 and SR141716A but not CP55,940 and anandamide. In the work presented here, we report a detailed functional analysis of the F3.36(201)A, F3.25(190)A, W5.43(280)A, and W6.48(357)A mutant receptors in stable cell lines created in HEK cells for agonist-stimulated guanosine 5'-3-O-(thio)triphosphate (GTPgammaS) binding and GIRK1/4 channel current effects in Xenopus oocytes where the mutant proteins were expressed transiently. The F3.36(201)A mutation showed statistically significant increases in ligand-independent stimulation of GTPgammaS binding versus wild type CB(1), although basal levels for the W6.48(357)A mutant were not statistically different from wild type CB(1). F3.36(201)A demonstrated a limited activation profile in the presence of multiple agonists. In contrast, enhanced agonist activation was produced by W6.48(357)A. These results suggest that a F3.36(201)/W6.48(357)-specific contact is an important constraint for the CB(1)-inactive state that may need to break during activation. Modeling studies suggest that the F3.36(201)/W6.48(357) contact can exist in the inactive state of CB(1) and be broken in the activated state via a chi(1) rotamer switch (F3.36(201) trans, W6.48(357) g+) --> (F3.36(201) g+, W6.48(357) trans). The F3.36(201)/W6.48(357) interaction therefore may represent a "toggle switch" for activation of CB(1).
J. Biol. Chem. Nov (2004); 46(279): 48024-37
Genetic deletion and pharmacological blockade of CB1 receptors modulates anxiety in the shock-probe burying test.
Cannabinoids affect various behavioral processes, including emotion, learning and memory, which may be specifically regulated through the CB1 receptors. The exact role CB1 receptors play in anxiety remains unclear. Both genetic and pharmacological blockade of CB1 receptors have produced inconsistent effects on anxiety. However, these studies examined passive avoidance as an index of anxiety. In the present study, both active and passive avoidance were examined using the shock-probe burying test while CB1 receptors were blocked genetically or pharmacologically. In the shock-probe burying test, anxiety is reflected by increased burying (increased active avoidance) and increased freezing (increased passive avoidance). In addition, probe-contacts may reflect cognitive performance and/or passive avoidance. As there have been few studies examining mouse behavior in the shock-probe burying test, experiment 1 was designed to pharmacologically validate this model in mice. Our results indicated that administration (i.p.) of chlordiazepoxide (4 mg/kg) or FG7412 (5 mg/kg) decreased and increased burying behavior, respectively, without affecting freezing or the number of probe contacts. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that both CB1 knockout mice and mice injected (i.p.) with 3 or 10 mg/kg, but not 1 mg/kg, of the CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A had lower burying scores, fewer contacts with the probe and similar freezing times compared with wild-type mice and mice injected with vehicle (experiments 2 and 3). Collectively, these results suggest that CB1 receptor blockade reduces some, but not all, aspects of anxiety. The decrease in probe contacts induced by CB1 receptor blockade may be due to enhanced cognition.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Aug (2004); 4(20): 1059-64
Activation through cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 on dendritic cells triggers NF-kappaB-dependent apoptosis: novel role for endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids in immunoregulation.
The precise role of cannabinoid receptors (CB)1 and CB2, as well as endogenous ligands for these receptors, on immune cells remains unclear. In the current study, we examined the effect of endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids on murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DCs). Addition of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a major psychoactive component found in marijuana or anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid, to DC cultures induced apoptosis in DCs. DCs expressed CB1 and CB2 receptors and the engagement of both receptors was necessary to trigger apoptosis. Treatment with THC induced caspase-2, -8, and -9 activation, cleavage of Bid, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, and cytochrome c release, suggesting involvement of death-receptor and mitochondrial pathways. DCs from Bid-knockout mice were sensitive to THC-induced apoptosis thereby suggesting that Bid was dispensable. There was no induction of p44/p42 MAPK, p38 MAPK, or stress-activated protein/JNK pathway in THC-treated DCs. However, THC treatment induced phosphorylation of IkappaB-alpha, and enhanced the transcription of several apoptotic genes regulated by NF-kappaB. Moreover, inhibition of NF-kappaB was able to block THC-induced apoptosis in DCs. Lastly, in vivo treatment of mice with THC caused depletion of splenic DCs. Together, our study demonstrates for the first time that endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids may suppress the immune response through their ability to induce apoptosis in DCs.
J. Immunol. Aug (2004); 4(173): 2373-82
Defective adult neurogenesis in CB1 cannabinoid receptor knockout mice.
Pharmacological studies suggest a role for CB1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R) in regulating neurogenesis in the adult brain. To investigate this possibility, we measured neurogenesis by intraperitoneal injection of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), which labels newborn neurons, in wild-type and CB1R-knockout (CB1R-KO) mice. CB1R-KO mice showed reductions in the number of BrdU-labeled cells to approximately 50% of wild-type (WT) levels in dentate gyrus and subventricular zone (SVZ), suggesting that CB1R activation promotes neurogenesis. To test this further, WT mice were given the CB1R antagonist N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboximide hydrochloride (SR141716A) before measuring neurogenesis with BrdU. SR141716A paradoxically increased the number of BrdU-labeled cells by approximately 50% in SVZ; another CB1R antagonist, 1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-4-methyl-N-1-piperidinyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (AM251), had a similar effect. To investigate this discrepancy, SR141716A was given to CB1R-KO mice, in which it still stimulated neurogenesis, indicating involvement of a non-CB1 receptor. Action at one such non-CB1, SR141716A-sensitive site, the VR1 vanilloid receptor, was tested by administering SR141716A to VR1-KO mice, in which the ability of SR141716A to enhance neurogenesis was abolished. Thus, CB1 and VR1 receptors both seem to have roles in regulating adult neurogenesis.
Mol. Pharmacol. Aug (2004); 2(66): 204-8
The endogenous cannabinoid system protects against colonic inflammation.
Excessive inflammatory responses can emerge as a potential danger for organisms' health. Physiological balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory processes constitutes an important feature of responses against harmful events. Here, we show that cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) mediate intrinsic protective signals that counteract proinflammatory responses. Both intrarectal infusion of 2,4-dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS) and oral administration of dextrane sulfate sodium induced stronger inflammation in CB1-deficient mice (CB1(-/-)) than in wild-type littermates (CB1(+/+)). Treatment of wild-type mice with the specific CB1 antagonist N-(piperidino-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (SR141716A) mimicked the phenotype of CB1(-/-) mice, showing an acute requirement of CB1 receptors for protection from inflammation. Consistently, treatment with the cannabinoid receptor agonist R(-)-7-hydroxy-Delta(6)-tetra-hydrocannabinol-dimethylheptyl (HU210) or genetic ablation of the endocannabinoid-degrading enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) resulted in protection against DNBS-induced colitis. Electrophysiological recordings from circular smooth muscle cells, performed 8 hours after DNBS treatment, revealed spontaneous oscillatory action potentials in CB1(-/-) but not in CB1(+/+) colons, indicating an early CB1-mediated control of inflammation-induced irritation of smooth muscle cells. DNBS treatment increased the percentage of myenteric neurons expressing CB1 receptors, suggesting an enhancement of cannabinoid signaling during colitis. Our results indicate that the endogenous cannabinoid system represents a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of intestinal disease conditions characterized by excessive inflammatory responses.
J. Clin. Invest. Apr (2004); 8(113): 1202-9
Reduced sensitivity to reward in CB1 knockout mice.
RATIONALE: Previous studies have demonstrated that the activation and blockade of the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) leads to an enhancement and decrease of the consumption of food and other orally ingested reinforcers, respectively. OBJECTIVE: To gain further knowledge about the role of CB1 in sucrose/saccharin reinforcing efficacy and intake, we tested CB1 knockout (CB1-KO) and littermate wild-type (WT) control mice in several self-administration experimental protocols. METHODS: Operant (fixed or progressive ratio schedule) and non-operant conditioning procedures were used. In addition, a choice analysis based on the "matching law" as well as a microstructural analysis of the intra-session pattern of self-administration was performed. RESULTS: CB1-KO mice consume less sucrose under operant conditions or when using a two-bottle free choice procedure. Moreover, as revealed by additional behavioural analysis, CB1-KO mice exhibit a decreased sensitivity to the rewarding properties of sucrose. In agreement with this finding, the differences between WT and CB1-KO mice faded away when the palatability of sucrose was devaluated by adding quinine, but not when a non-caloric sweetener, saccharin, was available. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate a modulatory role of CB1 in the determination of the rewarding properties of sucrose and probably, as suggested by previous studies, other reinforcers.
Psychopharmacology (Berl.) Nov (2004); 2(176): 223-32
Impaired action of anxiolytic drugs in mice deficient in cannabinoid CB1 receptors.
The role of cannabinoid CB(1) receptors in the action of anxiolytics was examined. Deletion of CB(1) receptors resulted in increased anxiety-like behaviours in light/dark box, elevated plus maze and social interaction tests. Mutant mice presented basal low corticosterone concentrations and low proopiomelanocortin gene expression in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland compared to wild-type mice. Ten minutes of restraint stress resulted in a twofold increase in corticosterone concentrations in the plasma of mutant mice, compared to wild-type mice. Bromazepam (50 or 100 microg/kg) markedly increased the time spent in light area in wild-type animals, though both doses were without effect in mutant mice. Administration of buspirone (1 or 2 mg/kg) produced anxiolytic effects in wild-type mice. In contrast, only the highest dose of buspirone had anxiolytic results in mutant mice. Our findings reveal that CB(1) receptors are involved in the regulation of emotional responses, and play a pivotal role in the action mechanism of anxiolytics. They suggest that alterations in the functional activity of the CB(1) receptor may be related to the emergence of anxiety disorders, and may affect treatment with anxiolytics.
Neuropharmacology Jun (2004); 7(46): 966-73
Context-dependent effects of CB1 cannabinoid gene disruption on anxiety-like and social behaviour in mice.
Contrasting data were reported regarding the effects of cannabinoids on anxiety and social behaviour in both animals and humans. The cognitive effects of cannabinoids and their interactions with the HPA-axis raise the possibility that cannabinoid effects are context but not behaviour specific. To assess this hypothesis, we submitted CB1 receptor knock-out (CB1-KO) and wild-type (WT) mice to tests, which involved similar behaviours, but the behavioural context was different. The elevated plus-maze test was performed under less and more anxiogenic conditions, i.e. under low and high light, respectively. We also compared the social behaviour of the two genotypes in the resident/intruder and social interaction tests. Both tests represent a social challenge and induce similar behaviours, but involve different contexts. The behaviour of CB1-KO and WT mice was similar under low light, but CB1 gene disruption increased anxiety-like behaviour under the high light condition. CB1 gene disruption promoted aggressive behaviour in the home-cage, whereas it inhibited social behaviour in the unfamiliar cage. Thus, the anxiogenic-like effect was restricted to the more stressful unfamiliar environment. These data suggest that the effects of CB1 gene disruption were context and not behaviour specific. Novelty stress resulted in higher ACTH levels in CB1-KOs than in WTs, which suggests that context dependency occurred in conjunction with an altered HPA axis function. The present data at least partly explain contrasting effects of cannabinoids in different contexts as well as in different species and strains that show differential stress responses and coping strategies.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Apr (2004); 7(19): 1906-12
Involvement of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in cannabinoid receptor-dependent protection against excitotoxicity.
Cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors play a central role in the protection against excitotoxicity induced by treatment of mice with kainic acid (KA). As inactivation of CB1 receptor function in mice blocks KA-induced increase of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA levels in hippocampus, the notion was put forward that BDNF might be a mediator, at least in part, of CB1 receptor-dependent neuroprotection [Marsicano et al. (2003) Science, 302, 84-88]. To assess this signalling cascade in more detail, organotypic hippocampal slice cultures were used, as this in vitro system conserves morphological and functional properties of the hippocampus. Here, we show that both genetic ablation of CB1 receptors and pharmacological blockade with the specific CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A increased the susceptibility of the in vitro cultures to KA-induced excitotoxicity, leading to extensive neuronal death. Next, we found that the application of SR141716A to hippocampal cultures from wild-type mice abolished the KA-induced increase in BDNF protein levels. Therefore, we tried to rescue these organotypic cultures from neuronal death by exogenously applied BDNF. Indeed, BDNF was sufficient to prevent KA-induced neuronal death after blockade of CB1 receptor signalling. In conclusion, our results strongly suggest that BDNF is a key mediator in CB1 receptor-dependent protection against excitotoxicity, and further underline the physiological importance of the endogenous cannabinoid system in neuroprotection.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Apr (2004); 7(19): 1691-8
CB1 cannabinoid receptor knockout in mice leads to leanness, resistance to diet-induced obesity and enhanced leptin sensitivity.
OBJECTIVE: There is growing evidence for an implication of the CB1 receptor subtype of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of eating and fat deposition. To further define the physiological role of these receptors in the control of energy balance, we characterized the phenotype of CB1 receptor knockout (CB1(-/-)) mice maintained on an obesity-prone regimen or on a standard chow. DESIGN: CB1(-/-) male mice were compared to wild-type animals (CB1(+/+) male mice) in two feeding paradigms: (1) with a standard laboratory regimen (3.5 kcal/g, 14.5% of energy as fat) and (2) on a free-choice paradigm consisting of offering both the standard laboratory chow and a high-fat diet (HFD) (4.9 kcal/g, 49% of energy as fat). RESULTS: When maintained on the standard diet, CB1(-/-) mice are lean. At the age of 20 weeks, their body weight and adiposity are, respectively, 24 and 60% lower than that of CB1(+/+) mice. They are slightly hypophagic, but when expressed as percent of body weight, their relative energy intake is similar to that of the wild-type animals. Furthermore, inactivation of CB1 receptors reduces plasma insulin and leptin levels, and enhances the response to intracerebroventricular leptin injection. The free-choice paradigm shows that the preference for a high-fat highly palatable chow is slightly delayed in onset but maintained in CB1(-/-) mice. However, loading CB1(-/-) mice with this obesity-prone diet does not result in development of obesity. Knockout mice do not display hyperphagia or reduction of their relative energy intake in contrast to CB1(+/+) mice, and their feeding efficiency remains low. These data suggest an improved energetic metabolism with the high-fat regimen. Furthermore, the insulin resistance normally occurring in HFD-fed mice is not present in CB1(-/-) mice. CONCLUSION: These results provide evidence that the stimulation of CB1 receptors is a key component in the development of diet-induced obesity, and that these receptors and their endogenous ligands are implicated not only in feeding control but also in peripheral metabolic regulations. The lack of effect of SR141716, a selective CB1 receptor antagonist, in CB1(-/-) mice further supports this hypothesis, as this compound was previously shown to display potent anti-obesity properties in diet-induced obese C57BL/6 mice.
Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. Apr (2004); 4(28): 640-8
Differential effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and methanandamide in CB1 knockout and wild-type mice.
Mice devoid of CB1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1-/- mice) provide a unique opportunity to further investigate the role of CB1 receptors in exocannabinoid and endocannabinoid effects. CB1-/- mice (N = 18) and their wild-type littermates (CB1+/+ mice; N = 12) were placed in standard mouse operant chambers and trained to lever press under a fixed ratio 10 schedule of reinforcement. When stable lever press responding under the fixed ratio 10 schedule had been established, cannabinoids and noncannabinoids were administered to both groups. CB1+/+ mice acquired the lever press response more readily than CB1-/- mice. Delta(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC) decreased lever press responding in CB1+/+ mice only, whereas methanandamide, a metabolically stable endocannabinoid analog, produced similar response rate decreases in both genotypic groups. Similar to Delta(9)-THC, another endocannabinoid analog, (R)-(20-cyano-16,16-dimethyl docosa-cis-5,8,11,14-tetraeno)-1'-hydroxy-2'-propylamine (O-1812), decreased responding in CB1+/+ mice, but not in CB1-/- mice. The CB1 receptor antagonist N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide hydrochloride (SR141716A) blocked the effects of Delta(9)-THC, but not those of methanandamide. Because methanandamide binds poorly to CB2 receptors, these results suggest possible non-CB1, non-CB2 mechanisms of action for methanandamide-induced behavioral disruption of lever press responding. Ethanol and morphine elicited greater response decreases in CB1-/- mice than in CB1+/+ mice, suggesting a possible role of CB1 receptors in the rate disruptive effects of these drugs. In contrast, diazepam did not produce between group differences, suggesting that CB1 receptors are not involved in diazepam-induced disruption of lever press responding.
J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. Apr (2004); 1(309): 86-91
Decreased alcohol self-administration and increased alcohol sensitivity and withdrawal in CB1 receptor knockout mice.
Recent advances in the understanding of the neurobiological basis of alcohol dependence suggest that the endocannabinoid system may play a key role in the reinforcing effects of ethanol. In the present study, disruption of CB1 receptors in mice generated on a CD1 background decreased both ethanol consumption and preference. This decreased ethanol self-administration was associated with increased sensitivity to the acute intoxicating effects of ethanol. Mutant mice were more sensitive to the hypothermic and sedative/hypnotic effects of acute ethanol administration (1.5-4.0 g/kg), although plasma ethanol concentrations did not differ from those of controls. Moreover, wild-type mice exhibited normal locomotor activation caused by 1.0-2.5 g/kg injection of ethanol, whereas mutant mice displayed sedation in response to the injection of the same ethanol doses. The severity of alcohol withdrawal-induced convulsions was also increased in CB1(-/-) mice. Our results suggest that CB1 receptors participate in the regulation of ethanol drinking and demonstrate that their disruption lead to increased ethanol sensitivity and withdrawal severity.
Neuropharmacology Feb (2004); 2(46): 243-53
Differential G protein-coupled cannabinoid receptor signaling by anandamide directs blastocyst activation for implantation.
Mammalian fertility absolutely depends on synchronized development of the blastocyst to the stage when it is competent to implant, and the uterus to the stage when it is receptive to implantation. However, the molecular basis for the reciprocal interaction between the embryo and the uterus remains largely unexplored. One potentially important mechanism involves signaling between an evolutionarily conserved G protein-coupled protein cannabinoid receptor, CB1, that is expressed at high levels on the surface of the trophectoderm and anandamide (N-arachi-donoylethanolamine), an endocannabinoid ligand found to be produced at higher levels by the uterus before implantation and then down-regulated at the time of implantation. Using genetic, pharmacological, and physiological approaches, we show here that anandamide within a very narrow range regulates blastocyst function and implantation by differentially modulating mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling and Ca2+ channel activity via CB1 receptors. Anandamide at a low concentration (7 nM) induces extracellular regulated kinase phosphorylation and nuclear translocation in trophectoderm cells without influencing Ca2+ channels, and renders the blastocyst competent for implantation in the receptive uterus. In contrast, anandamide at a higher concentration (28 nM) inhibits Ca2+ channel activity and blastocyst competency for implantation without influencing mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Besides uncovering a potentially important regulatory mechanism for synchronizing blastocyst and uterine competency to implantation, this observation has high clinical relevance, because elevated levels of anandamide induce spontaneous pregnancy loss in women.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Dec (2003); 25(100): 14914-9
Cannabinoids inhibit the release of [3H]glutamate from rodent hippocampal synaptosomes via a novel CB1 receptor-independent action.
In this study we investigated the effect of cannabinoids on [3H]glutamate release from hippocampal synaptosomes of rat and CB1-null mutant mouse. In the rat, cannabinoid receptor agonists, i.e. CP55,940 (EC50, 0.84 microm), WIN55,212-2 (EC50, 3.47 microm), ACEA (EC50, 17.8 microm), and R-(+)-methanandamide (EC50, 19.8 microm) concentration-dependently inhibited the 25-mm-K+ depolarization-evoked release of [3H]glutamate and, among them, WIN55,212-2 displayed the greatest efficacy. The CB1 receptor antagonists SR141716A (1-5 microm) and AM251 (1 microm) and the VR1 vanilloid receptor antagonist capsazepine (10 microm) did not antagonize the effect of the agonists. SR141716A by itself attenuated the evoked [3H]glutamate release. WIN55,212-2 inhibited the release of [3H]glutamate in CB1 -/- mice as well. These data demonstrate that the action of cannabinoids on glutamate release in the hippocampus is pharmacologically distinct and independent from the cloned CB1 receptor.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Oct (2003); 7(18): 1973-8
CB1 cannabinoid receptors and on-demand defense against excitotoxicity.
Abnormally high spiking activity can damage neurons. Signaling systems to protect neurons from the consequences of abnormal discharge activity have been postulated. We generated conditional mutant mice that lack expression of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 in principal forebrain neurons but not in adjacent inhibitory interneurons. In mutant mice,the excitotoxin kainic acid (KA) induced excessive seizures in vivo. The threshold to KA-induced neuronal excitation in vitro was severely reduced in hippocampal pyramidal neurons of mutants. KA administration rapidly raised hippocampal levels of anandamide and induced protective mechanisms in wild-type principal hippocampal neurons. These protective mechanisms could not be triggered in mutant mice. The endogenous cannabinoid system thus provides on-demand protection against acute excitotoxicity in central nervous system neurons.
Science Oct (2003); 5642(302): 84-8
A predominant role for inhibition of the adenylate cyclase/protein kinase A pathway in ERK activation by cannabinoid receptor 1 in N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells.
Cannabinoids activate several members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase superfamily including p44 and p42 extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). We used N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells and the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 (WIN) to examine the signal transduction pathways leading to the activation of ERK. ERK phosphorylation (activation) was measured by Western blot. The EC50 for stimulation of ERK phosphorylation was 10 nm, and this effect was blocked by pertussis toxin and the CB1 (cannabinoid) receptor antagonist SR141716A. The MEK inhibitors PD 98059 and U0126 blocked ERK phosphorylation, as did the adenylate cyclase activator forskolin. The phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase inhibitor LY 294002 and the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 partially occluded the response but also decreased basal levels of phospho-ERK. The PI 3-kinase and Src pathways are known to promote cell survival in many systems; therefore, MTT (1-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-3,5-diphenylformazan) conversion was used to examine the effects of these inhibitors on cellular viability. LY 294002 decreased the number of viable cells after 18 h of treatment; therefore, the inhibition of ERK by this inhibitor is probably because of cytotoxicity. Forskolin blocked ERK phosphorylation with an EC50 of <3 microm, and the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H-89 enhanced ERK phosphorylation. c-Raf phosphorylation at an inhibitory PKA-regulated site (Ser259) was also reduced by WIN. This is probably due to constitutive phosphatase activity because WIN did not directly stimulate PP1 or PP2A activity when measured using 6,8-difluoro-4-methylumbelliferyl phosphate as a fluorogenic substrate. These data implicate the inhibition of PKA as the predominant pathway for ERK activation by CB1 receptors in N1E-115 cells. PI 3-kinase and Src appear to contribute to ERK activation by maintaining activation of kinases, which prime the pathway and maintain cellular viability.
J. Biol. Chem. Dec (2003); 49(278): 48973-80
The endogenous cannabinoid system affects energy balance via central orexigenic drive and peripheral lipogenesis.
The cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and its endogenous ligands, the endocannabinoids, are involved in the regulation of food intake. Here we show that the lack of CB1 in mice with a disrupted CB1 gene causes hypophagia and leanness. As compared with WT (CB1+/+) littermates, mice lacking CB1 (CB1-/-) exhibited reduced spontaneous caloric intake and, as a consequence of reduced total fat mass, decreased body weight. In young CB1-/- mice, the lean phenotype is predominantly caused by decreased caloric intake, whereas in adult CB1-/- mice, metabolic factors appear to contribute to the lean phenotype. No significant differences between genotypes were detected regarding locomotor activity, body temperature, or energy expenditure. Hypothalamic CB1 mRNA was found to be coexpressed with neuropeptides known to modulate food intake, such as corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), cocaine-amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART), melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), and preproorexin, indicating a possible role for endocannabinoid receptors within central networks governing appetite. CB1-/- mice showed significantly increased CRH mRNA levels in the paraventricular nucleus and reduced CART mRNA levels in the dorsomedial and lateral hypothalamic areas. CB1 was also detected in epidydimal mouse adipocytes, and CB1-specific activation enhanced lipogenesis in primary adipocyte cultures. Our results indicate that the cannabinoid system is an essential endogenous regulator of energy homeostasis via central orexigenic as well as peripheral lipogenic mechanisms and might therefore represent a promising target to treat diseases characterized by impaired energy balance.
J. Clin. Invest. Aug (2003); 3(112): 423-31
Overeating, alcohol and sucrose consumption decrease in CB1 receptor deleted mice.
Administration of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716 (3-10 mg/kg i.p.) abolished neuropeptide Y-induced overeating and significantly reduced ethanol and sucrose intake in CB1 wild-type (+/+) mice. In CB1 receptor knockout (-/-) mice, neuropeptide Y totally lost its capacity to increase food consumption. Similarly, sucrose and ethanol intakes were significantly lower in CB1-/- vs. CB1+/+ mice. In CB1 deficient mice, SR141716 had no effect in these models.
Neurosci. Lett. Jun (2003); 3(343): 216-8
'One-trial sensitization' to the anxiolytic-like effects of cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR141716A in the mouse elevated plus-maze.
Significant variability in the effects of cannabinoid CB1 receptor ligands on emotional reactivity in animals and humans suggests that the endocannabinoid system may selectively modulate certain types of anxiety. In view of substantial evidence for qualitative differences in the nature of anxiety elicited on initial and subsequent exposures to the elevated plus-maze, the present studies contrasted the behavioural effects of the selective CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A (0.1-10.0 mg/kg) and the reference benzodiazepine chlordiazepoxide (CDP, 15 mg/kg) both in maze-naive mice (trial 1) and in mice that had been given a single undrugged exposure to the maze 24 h prior to testing (trial 2). Results confirmed the anxioselective effect of CDP on trial 1 but a complete absence of such activity on trial 2 (i.e. one trial tolerance). In marked contrast, SR141716A had no behavioural effects in maze-naive mice but, at doses of 1.0-3.0 mg/kg (effect maximal at 1.0 mg/kg), significantly reduced anxiety-like responses in maze-experienced animals. Like the effect of CDP on trial 1, the antianxiety profile of SR141716A on plus-maze trial 2 was observed in the absence of any change in general activity levels. The apparent experientially induced 'sensitization' to the anxiolytic-like effects of SR141716A in the plus-maze contrasts markedly with the widely reported loss of benzodiazepine efficacy in test-experienced animals. Data are discussed in relation to the recently described phenotypes of CB1 receptor knockout mice and, in particular, to mounting evidence for the existence of a novel SR141716A-sensitive neuronal cannabinoid receptor.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Mar (2003); 6(17): 1279-86
Activation of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 decreases glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptic transmission in the lateral amygdala of the mouse.
The endogenous cannabinoid system has been shown recently to play a crucial role in the extinction of aversive memories. As the amygdala is presumably involved in this process, we investigated the effects of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 (WIN-2) on synaptic transmission in the lateral amygdala (LA) of wild-type and cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1)-deficient mice. Extracellular field potential recordings and patch-clamp experiments were performed in an in vitro slice preparation. We found that WIN-2 reduces basal synaptic transmission and pharmacologically isolated AMPA receptor- and GABA(A) receptor-mediated postsynaptic currents in wild-type, but not in CB1-deficient mice. These results indicate that, in the LA, cannabinoids modulate both excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission via CB1. WIN-2-induced changes of paired-pulse ratio and of spontaneous and miniature postsynaptic currents suggest a presynaptic site of action. Inhibition of G(i/o) proteins and blockade of voltage-dependent and G protein-gated inwardly rectifying K(+) channels inhibited WIN-2 action on basal synaptic transmission. In contrast, modulation of the adenylyl cyclase-protein kinase A pathway, and blockade of presynaptic N- and P/Q- or of postsynaptic L- and R/T-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels did not affect WIN-2 effects. Our results indicate that the mechanisms underlying cannabinoid action in the LA partly resemble those observed in the nucleus accumbens and differ from those described for the hippocampus.
Learn. Mem. (); 2(10): 116-28
A critical role for the cannabinoid CB1 receptors in alcohol dependence and stress-stimulated ethanol drinking.
Although many people drink alcohol regularly, only some become addicted. Several studies have shown that genetic and environmental factors contribute to individual differences in the vulnerability to the effects of alcohol (Nestler, 2000; Kreek, 2001; Crabbe, 2002). Among the environmental factors, stress is perhaps the most important trigger for relapse after a period of abstinence (Koob and Nestler, 1997; Piazza and Le Moal, 1998; Koob and Le Moal, 2001; Weiss et al., 2001). Here we show that ethanol withdrawal symptoms were completely absent in cannabinoid CB1 receptor-deficient mice, although acute effects of ethanol and ethanol tolerance and preference were basically normal. Furthermore, foot-shock stress had no affect on alcohol preference in Cnr1-/- mice, although it induced a dramatic increase in Cnr1+/+ animals. These results reveal a critical role for the CB1 receptor in clinically important aspects of alcohol dependence and provide a rationale for the use of CB1 receptor antagonists in the treatment of alcohol addiction.
J. Neurosci. Mar (2003); 6(23): 2453-8
The FGF receptor uses the endocannabinoid signaling system to couple to an axonal growth response.
A key role for DAG lipase activity in the control of axonal growth and guidance in vitro and in vivo has been established. For example, DAG lipase activity is required for FGF-stimulated calcium influx into neuronal growth cones, and this response is both necessary and sufficient for an axonal growth response. The mechanism that couples the hydrolysis of DAG to the calcium response is not known. The initial hydrolysis of DAG at the sn-1 position (by DAG lipase) will generate 2-arachidonylglycerol, and this molecule is well established as an endogenous cannabinoid receptor agonist in the brain. In the present paper, we show that in rat cerebellar granule neurons, CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonists inhibit axonal growth responses stimulated by N-cadherin and FGF2. Furthermore, three CB1 receptor agonists mimic the N-cadherin/FGF2 response at a step downstream from FGF receptor activation, but upstream from calcium influx into cells. In contrast, we could find no evidence for the CB1 receptor coupling the TrkB neurotrophin receptor to an axonal growth response in the same neurons. The observation that the CB1 receptor can couple the activated FGF receptor to an axonal growth response raises novel therapeutic opportunities.
J. Cell Biol. Feb (2003); 4(160): 481-6
Milk intake and survival in newborn cannabinoid CB1 receptor knockout mice: evidence for a "CB3" receptor.
Cannabinoids, whether plant-derived, synthetic or endogenous, have been shown to stimulate appetite in the adult organism. We have reported previously that cannabinoid receptors play a critical role during the early suckling period: The selective cannabinoid CB(1) receptor antagonist N-(piperidiny-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (SR141617A) permanently prevented milk ingestion in a dose-dependent manner, when administered to (Sabra, albino) mouse pups, within 1 day of birth. As a consequence, these pups died within the first week of life. We now generalize this finding to a different strain of mice (C57BL/6). Further, we show that cannabinoid CB(1) receptor blockade (20 mg/kg SR141716A) must occur within 24 h after birth as injection of SR141716A into 2- or 5-day-old pups had a much smaller effect or no effect at all, respectively. Cannabinoid CB(1) receptor knockout mice did not ingest milk on the first day of life, similarly to SR141716A-treated normal pups, as measured by the appearance of "milkbands". However, the knockout pups started to display milkbands from day 2 of life. Survival rates of cannabinoid CB(1) receptor knockout mice were affected significantly, but to a lesser extent than normal pups, by the administration of SR141716A. Daily administration of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, or the synthetic agonists (R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl)pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl]-1-naphthalenylmethanone (WIN55,212-2, 5 mg/kg) or (-)-cis-3-[2-Hydroxy4-(1,1-dimethylheptyl) phenyl]-trans-4-(3-hydroxypropyl)cyclohexanol (CP55,940, 5 or 20 mg/kg) did not promote survival or weight gain in CB(1)(-/-) pups. Our data support previous evidence for a critical role of cannabinoid CB(1) receptors for the initiation of suckling. Further, the present observations support the existence of an unknown cannabinoid receptor, with partial control over milk ingestion in newborns. Our data also suggest that the CB(1)(-/-) neonates possess a compensatory mechanism which helps them overcome the lack of cannabinoid CB(1) receptors.
Eur. J. Pharmacol. Feb (2003); 1(461): 27-34
Cannabinoid CB1 receptor knockout mice exhibit markedly reduced voluntary alcohol consumption and lack alcohol-induced dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens.
The mechanisms underlying predisposition to alcohol abuse and alcoholism are poorly understood. In this study, we evaluated the role of cannabinoid (CB1) receptors in (i) voluntary alcohol consumption, and (ii) acute alcohol-induced dopamine (DA) release in the nucleus accumbens, using mice that lack the CB1 receptor gene (CB1-/-). CB1-/- mice exhibited dramatically reduced voluntary alcohol consumption, and completely lacked alcohol-induced DA release in the nucleus accumbens, as compared to wild-type mice. The gender difference, with female mice consuming significantly more alcohol than wild-type male mice, was observed in wild-type mice, whereas this gender difference was nonexistent in CB1 mutant male and female mice. There was also a significant gender difference, with the wild-type, heterozygous, and mutant females consuming significantly more liquid and food than wild-type, heterozygous and mutant males. However, the total volume of fluid consumption and food intake did not differ between wild-type, heterozygous, and mutant mice. These results strongly suggest that the CB1 receptor system plays an important role in regulating the positive reinforcing properties of alcohol.
J. Neurochem. Feb (2003); 4(84): 698-704
Increase of morphine withdrawal in mice lacking A2a receptors and no changes in CB1/A2a double knockout mice.
CB1 cannabinoid and A2a adenosine receptors are highly expressed in the central nervous system where they modulate numerous physiological processes including emotional behaviour and the responses of several drugs of abuse. To investigate the contribution of these receptors in emotional-like responses and opioid dependence we have generated CB1/A2a double deficient mice (CB1-/-/A2a-/-). The spontaneous locomotor activity was reduced in double knockout as compared to wild-type animals. Emotional-like responses of CB1-/-/A2a-/- mice were investigated using the elevated plus-maze and the lit-dark box. Mutant mice exhibited an increased level of anxiety in both behavioural models. The specific involvement of CB1 and A2a receptors in morphine dependence was evaluated by using A2a knockout mice and CB1/A2a double mutant mice. The severity of naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal syndrome was significantly increased in the absence of A2a adenosine receptors whereas no modifications were observed in the double knockout mice. These results suggest that both receptors participate in the control of emotional behaviour and seem to play an opposite role in the expression of opioid physical dependence.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Jan (2003); 2(17): 315-24
Endocannabinoid signaling via cannabinoid receptor 1 is involved in ethanol preference and its age-dependent decline in mice.
Cannabinoids and ethanol can activate the same reward pathways, which could suggest endocannabinoid involvement in the rewarding effects of ethanol. The high ethanol preference of young (6-10 weeks) C57BL6J mice is reduced by the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) antagonist SR141716A to levels observed in their CB1 knockout littermates or in old (26-48 weeks) wild-type mice, in both of which ethanol preference is unaffected by SR141716A. Similarly, SR141716A inhibits food intake in food-restricted young, but not old, wild-type mice. There are no age-dependent differences in the tissue levels of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol or the density of CB1 in the hypothalamus, limbic forebrain, amygdala, and cerebellum. CB1-stimulated guanosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate (GTP[gammaS]) binding is selectively reduced in the limbic forebrain of old compared with young wild-type mice. There is no age-dependent difference in G(i) or G(o) subunit protein expression in the limbic forebrain, and the selective reduction in GTP[gammaS] labeling in tissue from old mice is maintained in a receptorG protein reconstitution assay by using functional bovine brain G protein. These findings suggest that endocannabinoids acting at CB1 contribute to ethanol preference, and decreased coupling of CB1 to G proteins in the limbic forebrain by mechanisms other than altered receptor or G protein levels may be involved in the age-dependent decline in the appetite for both ethanol and food.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Feb (2003); 3(100): 1393-8
Inhibition of skin tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo by activation of cannabinoid receptors.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer is one of the most common malignancies in humans. Different therapeutic strategies for the treatment of these tumors are currently being investigated. Given the growth-inhibiting effects of cannabinoids on gliomas and the wide tissue distribution of the two subtypes of cannabinoid receptors (CB(1) and CB(2)), we studied the potential utility of these compounds in anti-skin tumor therapy. Here we show that the CB(1) and the CB(2) receptor are expressed in normal skin and skin tumors of mice and humans. In cell culture experiments pharmacological activation of cannabinoid receptors induced the apoptotic death of tumorigenic epidermal cells, whereas the viability of nontransformed epidermal cells remained unaffected. Local administration of the mixed CB(1)/CB(2) agonist WIN-55,212-2 or the selective CB(2) agonist JWH-133 induced a considerable growth inhibition of malignant tumors generated by inoculation of epidermal tumor cells into nude mice. Cannabinoid-treated tumors showed an increased number of apoptotic cells. This was accompanied by impairment of tumor vascularization, as determined by altered blood vessel morphology and decreased expression of proangiogenic factors (VEGF, placental growth factor, and angiopoietin 2). Abrogation of EGF-R function was also observed in cannabinoid-treated tumors. These results support a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of skin tumors.
J. Clin. Invest. Jan (2003); 1(111): 43-50
Generation and initial analysis of more than 15,000 full-length human and mouse cDNA sequences.
The National Institutes of Health Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC) Program is a multiinstitutional effort to identify and sequence a cDNA clone containing a complete ORF for each human and mouse gene. ESTs were generated from libraries enriched for full-length cDNAs and analyzed to identify candidate full-ORF clones, which then were sequenced to high accuracy. The MGC has currently sequenced and verified the full ORF for a nonredundant set of >9,000 human and >6,000 mouse genes. Candidate full-ORF clones for an additional 7,800 human and 3,500 mouse genes also have been identified. All MGC sequences and clones are available without restriction through public databases and clone distribution networks (see http:mgc.nci.nih.gov).
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Dec (2002); 26(99): 16899-903
Analysis of the mouse transcriptome based on functional annotation of 60,770 full-length cDNAs.
Only a small proportion of the mouse genome is transcribed into mature messenger RNA transcripts. There is an international collaborative effort to identify all full-length mRNA transcripts from the mouse, and to ensure that each is represented in a physical collection of clones. Here we report the manual annotation of 60,770 full-length mouse complementary DNA sequences. These are clustered into 33,409 'transcriptional units', contributing 90.1% of a newly established mouse transcriptome database. Of these transcriptional units, 4,258 are new protein-coding and 11,665 are new non-coding messages, indicating that non-coding RNA is a major component of the transcriptome. 41% of all transcriptional units showed evidence of alternative splicing. In protein-coding transcripts, 79% of splice variations altered the protein product. Whole-transcriptome analyses resulted in the identification of 2,431 sense-antisense pairs. The present work, completely supported by physical clones, provides the most comprehensive survey of a mammalian transcriptome so far, and is a valuable resource for functional genomics.
Nature Dec (2002); 6915(420): 563-73
Increased severity of stroke in CB1 cannabinoid receptor knock-out mice.
Endogenous cannabinoid signaling pathways have been implicated in protection of the brain from hypoxia, ischemia, and trauma, but the mechanism for these protective effects is uncertain. We found that in CB1 cannabinoid receptor knock-out mice, mortality from permanent focal cerebral ischemia was increased, infarct size and neurological deficits after transient focal cerebral ischemia were more severe, cerebral blood flow in the ischemic penumbra during reperfusion was reduced, and NMDA neurotoxicity was increased compared with wild-type littermates. These findings indicate that endogenous cannabinoid signaling pathways protect mice from ischemic stroke by a mechanism that involves CB1 receptors, and suggest that both blood vessels and neurons may be targets of this protective effect.
J. Neurosci. Nov (2002); 22(22): 9771-5
The effects of genetic and pharmacological blockade of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor on anxiety.
The aim of this study was to compare the effects of the genetic and pharmacological disruption of CB1 cannabinoid receptors on the elevated plus-maze test of anxiety. In the first experiment, the behaviour of CB1-knockout mice and wild-type mice was compared. In the second experiment, the cannabinoid antagonist SR141716A (0, 1, and 3 mg/kg) was administered to both CB1-knockout and wild type mice. Untreated CB1-knockout mice showed a reduced exploration of the open arms of the plus-maze apparatus, thus appearing more anxious than the wild-type animals, however no changes in locomotion were noticed. The vehicle-injected CB1-knockout mice from the second experiment also showed increased anxiety as compared with wild types. Surprisingly, the cannabinoid antagonist SR141716A reduced anxiety in both wild type and CB1 knockout mice. Locomotor behaviour was only marginally affected. Recent evidence suggests the existence of a novel cannabinoid receptor in the brain. It has also been shown that SR141716A binds to both the CB1 and the putative novel receptor. The data presented here supports these findings, as the cannabinoid receptor antagonist affected anxiety in both wild type and CB1-knockout mice. Tentatively, it may be suggested that the discrepancy between the effects of the genetic and pharmacological blockade of the CB1 receptor suggests that the novel receptor plays a role in anxiety.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Oct (2002); 7(16): 1395-8
Anti-obesity effect of SR141716, a CB1 receptor antagonist, in diet-induced obese mice.
Because the CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716 was previously reported to modulate food intake in rodents, we studied its efficacy in reducing obesity in a diet-induced obesity (DIO) model widely used for research on the human obesity syndrome. During a 5-wk treatment, SR141716 (10 mg. kg(-1). day(-1) orally) induced a transient reduction of food intake (-48% on week 1) and a marked but sustained reduction of body weight (-20%) and adiposity (-50%) of DIO mice. Furthermore, SR141716 corrected the insulin resistance and lowered plasma leptin, insulin, and free fatty acid levels. Most of these effects were present, but less pronounced at 3 mg. kg(-1). day(-1). In addition to its hypophagic action, SR141716 may influence metabolic processes as the body weight loss of SR141716-treated mice was significantly higher during 24-h fasting compared with vehicle-treated animals, and when a 3-day treatment was compared with a pair feeding. SR141716 had no effect in CB1 receptor knockout mice, which confirmed the implication of CB1 receptors in the activity of the compound. These findings suggest that SR141716 has a potential as a novel anti-obesity treatment.
Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. Feb (2003); 2(284): R345-53
Lack of CB1 cannabinoid receptors modifies nicotine behavioural responses, but not nicotine abstinence.
Cannabis is the most widely consumed illicit drug and its consumption is currently associated with tobacco, which contains another psychoactive compound, namely nicotine. Interactions between cannabinoids and other drugs of abuse, such as opioids, have been previously reported. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible role of CB1 cannabinoid receptor in responses induced by acute and repeated nicotine administration by using knockout mice lacking the CB1 cannabinoid receptor and their wild-type littermates. Acute nicotine (0.5, 1, 3 and 6 mg/kg, sc) administration decreased locomotor activity and induced antinociceptive responses in the tail-immersion and the hot-plate test, in wild-type animals. The antinociceptive effects in the tail-immersion test were significantly enhanced in CB1 knockout mice. In wild-type mice nicotine (0.5 mg/kg, sc) produced a significant rewarding effect, as measured by a conditioned place preference paradigm. This response was absent in CB1 knockout mice. Finally, a model of mecamylamine-induced abstinence in chronic nicotine-treated mice (10 mg/kg/day, sc) was developed. Mecamylamine (1 and 2 mg/kg, sc) precipitated several somatic signs of nicotine withdrawal in wild-type dependent mice. However, no difference in the severity of nicotine withdrawal was observed in CB1 knockout mice. These results demonstrate that some acute effects and motivational responses elicited by nicotine can be modulated by the endogenous cannabinoid system and support the existence of a physiological interaction between these two systems.
Neuropharmacology Oct (2002); 5(43): 857-67
CB1 cannabinoid receptor-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase-related non-kinase.
The effect of cannabinoid on the tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and focal adhesion kinase-related non-kinase (FRNK) was investigated in differentiated mouse neuroblastoma N1E-115 cells. HU-210, a potent cannabinoid agonist, elicited a time-dependent enhancement of tyrosine phosphorylation of FRNK, but not FAK. Pretreatment of cells with antisense oligodeoxynucleotide targeting CB1 cannabinoid receptor abolished HU-210-induced FRNK tyrosine phosphorylation. In addition, pretreatment of cells with 8-Br-cAMP also blocked HU-210-induced FRNK tyrosine phosphorylation. These data demonstrated that HU-210 induces FRNK tyrosine phosphorylation by activating G(i)-coupled CB1 cannabinoid receptor in N1E-115 cells. This newly discovered, cannabinoid-induced FRNK tyrosine phosphorylation might be a novel mechanism for cannabinoid-induced functional changes.
FEBS Lett. Aug (2002); 1(525): 164-8
The endogenous cannabinoid system controls extinction of aversive memories.
Acquisition and storage of aversive memories is one of the basic principles of central nervous systems throughout the animal kingdom. In the absence of reinforcement, the resulting behavioural response will gradually diminish to be finally extinct. Despite the importance of extinction, its cellular mechanisms are largely unknown. The cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and endocannabinoids are present in memory-related brain areas and modulate memory. Here we show that the endogenous cannabinoid system has a central function in extinction of aversive memories. CB1-deficient mice showed strongly impaired short-term and long-term extinction in auditory fear-conditioning tests, with unaffected memory acquisition and consolidation. Treatment of wild-type mice with the CB1 antagonist SR141716A mimicked the phenotype of CB1-deficient mice, revealing that CB1 is required at the moment of memory extinction. Consistently, tone presentation during extinction trials resulted in elevated levels of endocannabinoids in the basolateral amygdala complex, a region known to control extinction of aversive memories. In the basolateral amygdala, endocannabinoids and CB1 were crucially involved in long-term depression of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)-mediated inhibitory currents. We propose that endocannabinoids facilitate extinction of aversive memories through their selective inhibitory effects on local inhibitory networks in the amygdala.
Nature Aug (2002); 6897(418): 530-4
Endogenous cannabinoids mediate long-term synaptic depression in the nucleus accumbens.
Do endocannabinoids (eCBs) participate in long-term synaptic plasticity in the brain? Using pharmacological approaches and genetically altered mice, we show that stimulation of prelimbic cortex afferents at naturally occurring frequencies causes a long-term depression of nucleus accumbens glutamatergic synapses mediated by eCB release and presynaptic CB1 receptors. Translation of glutamate synaptic transmission into eCB retrograde signaling involved metabotropic glutamate receptors and postsynaptic intracellular Ca(2+) stores. These findings unveil the role of the eCB system in activity-dependent long-term synaptic plasticity and identify a mechanism by which marijuana can alter synaptic functions in the endogenous brain reward system.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Jun (2002); 12(99): 8384-8
Age-related changes of anandamide metabolism in CB1 cannabinoid receptor knockout mice: correlation with behaviour.
Anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine, AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are the most active endocannabinoids at brain (CB1) cannabinoid receptors. CD1 mice lacking the CB1 receptors ("knockout" [KO] mutants) were compared with wildtype (WT) littermates for their ability to degrade AEA through an AEA membrane transporter (AMT) and an AEA hydrolase (fatty acid amide hydrolase, FAAH). The age dependence of AMT and FAAH activity were investigated in 1- or 4-month-old WT and KO animals, and found to increase with age in KO, but not WT, mice and to be higher in the hippocampus than in the cortex of all animals. AEA and 2-AG were detected in nmol/mg protein (microm) concentrations in both regions, though the hippocampus showed approximately twice the amount found in the cortex. In the same regions, 2-AG failed to change across groups, while AEA was significantly decreased (approximately 30%) in hippocampus, but not in cortex, of old KO mice, when compared with young KO or age-matched WT animals. In the open-field test under bright light and in the lit-dark exploration model of anxiety, young KO mice, compared with old KO, exhibited a mild anxiety-related behaviour. In contrast, neither the increase in memory performance assessed by the object recognition test, nor the reduction of morphine withdrawal symptoms, showed age dependence in CB1 KO mice. These results suggest that invalidation of the CB1 receptor gene is associated with age-dependent adaptive changes of endocannabinoid metabolism which appear to correlate with the waning of the anxiety-like behaviour exhibited by young CB1 KO mice.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Apr (2002); 7(15): 1178-86
Postsynaptic endocannabinoid release is critical to long-term depression in the striatum.
The striatum functions critically in movement control and habit formation. The development and function of cortical input to the striatum are thought to be regulated by activity-dependent plasticity of corticostriatal glutamatergic synapses. Here we show that the induction of a form of striatal synaptic plasticity, long-term depression (LTD), is dependent on activation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor. LTD was facilitated by blocking cellular endocannabinoid uptake, and postsynaptic loading of anandamide (AEA) produced presynaptic depression. The endocannabinoid necessary for striatal LTD is thus likely to be released postsynaptically as a retrograde messenger. These findings demonstrate a new role for endocannabinoids in the induction of long-term synaptic plasticity in a circuit necessary for habit formation and motor control.
Nat. Neurosci. May (2002); 5(5): 446-51
Neuroprotective properties of cannabinoids against oxidative stress: role of the cannabinoid receptor CB1.
Neuroprotective effects have been described for many cannabinoids in several neurotoxicity models. However, the exact mechanisms have not been clearly understood yet. In the present study, antioxidant neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids and the involvement of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) were analysed in detail employing cell-free biochemical assays and cultured cells. As it was reported for oestrogens that the phenolic group is a lead structure for antioxidant neuroprotective effects, eight compounds were classified into three groups. Group A: phenolic compounds that do not bind to CB1. Group B: non-phenolic compounds that bind to CB1. Group C: phenolic compounds that bind to CB1. In the biochemical assays employed, a requirement of the phenolic lead structure for antioxidant activity was shown. The effects paralleled the protective potential of group A and C compounds against oxidative neuronal cell death using the mouse hippocampal HT22 cell line and rat primary cerebellar cell cultures. To elucidate the role of CB1 in neuroprotection, we established stably transfected HT22 cells containing CB1 and compared the protective potential of cannabinoids with that observed in the control transfected HT22 cell line. Furthermore, oxidative stress experiments were performed in cultured cerebellar granule cells, which were derived either from CB1 knock-out mice or from control wild-type littermates. The results strongly suggest that CB1 is not involved in the cellular antioxidant neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids.
J. Neurochem. Feb (2002); 3(80): 448-56
Novel, not adenylyl cyclase-coupled cannabinoid binding site in cerebellum of mice.
In this study we report data suggesting the presence of a non-CB1, non-CB2 cannabinoid site in the cerebellum of CB1-/- mice. We have carried out [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding experiments in striata, hippocampi, and cerebella of CB1-/- and CB1(+/+) mice with Delta(9)-THC, WIN55,212-2, HU-210, SR141716A, and SR144528. In CB1-/- mice Delta(9)-THC and HU-210 did not stimulate [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding. However, WIN55,212-2 was able to stimulate [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding in cerebella of CB1-/- mice. The maximal effect of this stimulation was 31% that of wild type animals. This effect was reversible neither by CB1 nor CB2 receptor antagonists. Similar results were obtained with the endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide. However, adenylyl cyclase was not inhibited by WIN55,212-2 or anandamide in the CB1(minus sign/minus sign) animals. In striata and hippocampi of CB1-/- mice no [(35)S]GTPgammaS stimulation curve could be obtained with WIN55,212. Our findings suggest that there is a non-CB1 non-CB2 receptor present in the cerebellum of CB1-/- mice.
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. Mar (2002); 1(292): 231-5
Involvement of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in emotional behaviour.
RATIONALE: Endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids acting through the CB1 cannabinoid receptors are implicated in the control of a variety of behavioural and neuroendocrine functions, including emotional responses, and learning and memory processes. Recently, knockout mice deficient in the CB1 cannabinoid receptor have been generated, and these animals result in an excellent tool to evaluate the neurophysiology of the endogenous cannabinoid system. OBJECTIVES: To establish the role of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in several emotional-related behavioural responses, including aggressiveness, anxiety, depression and learning models, using CB1 knockout mice. METHODS: We evaluated the spontaneous responses of CB1 knockout mice and wild-type controls under different behavioural paradigms, including the light/dark box, the chronic unpredictable mild stress, the resident-intruder test and the active avoidance paradigm. RESULTS: Our findings showed that CB1 knockout mice presented an increase in the aggressive response measured in the resident-intruder test and an anxiogenic-like response in the light/dark box. Furthermore, a higher sensitivity to exhibit depressive-like responses in the chronic unpredictable mild stress procedure was observed in CB1 knockout mice, suggesting an increased susceptibility to develop an anhedonic state in these animals. Finally, CB1 knockout mice showed a significant increase in the conditioned responses produced in the active avoidance model, suggesting an improvement of learning and memory processes. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together these findings demonstrate that endogenous cannabinoids through the activation of CB1 receptors are implicated in the control of emotional behaviour and participate in the physiological processes of learning and memory.
Psychopharmacology (Berl.) Feb (2002); 4(159): 379-87
Coexpression of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 with dopamine and serotonin receptors in distinct neuronal subpopulations of the adult mouse forebrain.
The cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) displays unusual properties, including the dual capacity to inhibit or stimulate adenylate cyclase and a brain density considerably higher than the majority of G protein-coupled receptors. Together with overlapping expression patterns of dopamine and serotonin receptors this suggests a potential of CB1 to modulate the function of the dopamine and serotonin system. Indeed, pharmacological studies provide evidence for cross-talks between CB1 and receptors of these neurotransmitter systems. In trying to obtain further insights into possible functional and/or structural interactions between CB1 and the dopamine receptors and the serotonin receptors, we performed double-label in situ hybridization at the cellular level on mouse forebrain sections by combining a digoxigenin-labelled riboprobe for CB1 with 35S-labelled riboprobes for dopamine receptors D1 and D2, and for serotonin receptors 5-HT1B and 5-HT3, respectively. As a general rule, we found that CB1 colocalizes with D1, D2 and 5-HT1B only in low-CB1-expressing cells which are principal projecting neurons, whereas CB1 coexpression with 5-HT3 was also observed in high-CB1-expressing cells which are considered to be mostly GABAergic. In striatum and olfactory tubercle, CB1 is coexpressed to a high extent with D1, D2 and 5-HT1B. Throughout the hippocampal formation, CB1 is coexpressed with D2, 5-HT1B and 5-HT3. In the neocortex, coexpression was detected only with 5-HT1B and 5-HT3. In summary a distinct pattern is emerging for the cannabinoid system with regard to its colocalization with dopamine and serotonin receptors and, therefore, it is likely that different mechanisms underlie its cross-talk with these neurotransmitter systems.
Neuroscience (2002); 3(109): 451-60
Assessment of the role of CB1 receptors in cannabinoid anticonvulsant effects.
The cannabinoid CB1 receptor has been shown to be the primary site of action for cannabinoid-induced effects on the central nervous system. Activation of this receptor has proven to dampen neurotransmission and produce an overall reduction in neuronal excitability. Cannabinoid compounds like delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol have been shown to be anticonvulsant in maximal electroshock, a model of partial seizure with secondary generalization. However, until now, it was unknown if these anticonvulsant effects are mediated by the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. Likewise, (R)-(+)-[2,3-Dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl)pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl]-1-naphthalenylmethanone (WIN 55,212-2), a cannabimimetic compound that has been shown to decrease hyperexcitability in cell culture models via the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, has never been evaluated for anticonvulsant activity in an animal seizure model. We first show that the cannabinoid compounds delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (ED50 = 42 mg/kg), cannabidiol (ED50 = 80 mg/kg), and WIN 55,212-2 (ED50 = 47 mg/kg) are anticonvulsant in maximal electroshock. We further establish, using the cannabinoid CB1 receptor specific antagonist N-(piperidin-1-yl-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamidehydrochloride (SR141716A) (AD50 = 2.5 mg/kg), that the anticonvulsant effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and WIN 55,212-2 are cannabinoid CB1 receptor-mediated while the anticonvulsant activity of cannabidiol is not. This study establishes a role for the cannabinoid CB1 receptor in modulating seizure activity in a whole animal model.
Eur. J. Pharmacol. Sep (2001); 1(428): 51-7
Metabotropic glutamate receptors drive the endocannabinoid system in hippocampus.
Endocannabinoids are key intercellular signaling molecules in the brain, but the physiological regulation of the endocannabinoid system is not understood. We used the retrograde signal process called depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) to study the regulation of this system. DSI is produced when an endocannabinoid released from pyramidal cells suppresses IPSCs by activating CB1R cannabinoid receptors located on inhibitory interneurons. We now report that activation of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) enhances DSI and that this effect is blocked by antagonists of both mGluRs and of CB1R. We also found that DSI is absent in CB1R knock-out (CB1R(-/-)) mice, and, strikingly, that mGluR agonists have no effect on IPSCs in these mice. We conclude that group I mGluR-induced enhancement of DSI, and suppression of IPSCs, is actually mediated by endocannabinoids. This surprising result opens up new approaches to the investigation of cannabinoid actions in the brain.
J. Neurosci. Dec (2001); 24(21): RC188
Modulation of CB1 mRNA upon activation of murine splenocytes.
There is significant evidence that cannabinoids have the ability to exert immunomodulatory effects. The identification of cannabinoid receptors in immune tissues has therefore led to questions about whether these immunomodulatory effects occur via these cannabinoid receptors. The cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB 1), although expressed primarily in the brain, is also expressed in lower amounts in peripheral tissues. Of interest to us is the fact that CB1 is expressed in immune tissues such as spleen, albeit at lower levels than the peripheral cannabinoid receptor, CB2. To examine the function of CBI in immune cells, activation experiments were performed using different stimuli e.g., anti-CD3, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)/Ionomycin (Io), and PMA/Io + IL-2. Whole spleen cells were cultured in the presence of different stimuli for 0, 2, 4, and 24 hours, harvested at each time point, RNA isolated, and RT-PCR performed. FACS analysis was also performed using CD69 (an early activation marker) to determine whether cells were actually being activated. Results from anti-CD3 stimulation indicated a decrease in CB1 mRNA expression following activation. CB1 mRNA expression in murine splenocytes that were stimulated with PMA/Io in the presence or absence of IL-2 was also modulated. Expression of the message was enhanced upon stimulation with PMA/Io and PMA/Io + IL-2, however, stimulation with PMA/Io + IL-2 led to a stronger increase within 2 to 4 hours with CB1 returning to at or below baseline levels by 24 hours. Expression of CD69 was detected in all stimulated samples thereby indicating that the splenocytes were becoming activated. In summary, anti-CD3 stimulation appeared to decrease CB1 mRNA expression while PMA/Io + IL-2 stimulation significantly increased CB1 mRNA expression. These results demonstrate that the expression of CB1 mRNA is modulated upon cellular activation and that this modulation is dependent on the stimulus that is used.
Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. (2001); 0(493): 215-21
Presynaptic specificity of endocannabinoid signaling in the hippocampus.
Endocannabinoids are retrograde messengers released by neurons to modulate the strength of their synaptic inputs. Endocannabinoids are thought to mediate the suppression of GABA release that follows depolarization of a hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron-termed "depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition" (DSI). Here, we report that DSI is absent in mice which lack cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1). Pharmacological and kinetic evidence suggests that CB1 activation inhibits presynaptic Ca2+ channels through direct G protein inhibition. Paired recordings show that endocannabinoids selectively inhibit a subclass of synapses distinguished by their fast kinetics and large unitary conductance. Furthermore, cannabinoid-sensitive inputs are unusual among central nervous system synapses in that they use N- but not P/Q-type Ca2+ channels for neurotransmitter release. These results indicate that endocannabinoids are highly selective, rapid modulators of hippocampal inhibition.
Neuron Aug (2001); 3(31): 453-62
Anandamide degradation and N-acylethanolamines level in wild-type and CB1 cannabinoid receptor knockout mice of different ages.
CD1 mice lacking the CB1 receptors (knockout, KO) were compared with wild-type littermates for their ability to degrade N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide, AEA) through a membrane transporter (AMT) and a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). The regional distribution and age-dependence of AMT and FAAH activity were investigated. Anandamide membrane transporter and FAAH increased with age in knockout mice, whereas they showed minor changes in wild-type animals. Remarkably, they were higher in all brain areas of 6-month-old knockout versus wild-type mice, and even higher in 12-month-old animals. The molecular mass (approximately 67 kDa) and isoelectric point (approximately 7.6) of mouse brain FAAH were determined and the FAAH protein content was shown to parallel the enzyme activity. The kinetic constants of AMT and FAAH in the cortex of wild-type and knockout mice at different ages suggested that different amounts of the same proteins were expressed. The cortex and hippocampus of wild-type and knockout mice contained the following N-acylethanolamines: AEA (8% of total), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (5%), N-oleoylethanolamine (20%), N-palmitoylethanolamine (53%) and N-stearoylethanolamine (14%). These compounds were twice as abundant in the hippocampus as in the cortex. Minor differences were observed in AEA or 2-arachidonoylglycerol content in knockout versus wild-type mice, whereas the other compounds were lower in the hippocampus of knockout versus wild-type animals.
J. Neurochem. Jul (2001); 2(78): 339-48
Agonist efficacy and receptor efficiency in heterozygous CB1 knockout mice: relationship of reduced CB1 receptor density to G-protein activation.
Heterozygous CB1 receptor knockout mice were used to examine the effect of reduced CB1 receptor density on G-protein activation in membranes prepared from four brain regions: cerebellum, hippocampus, striatum/globus pallidus (striatum/GP) and cingulate cortex. Results showed that CB1 receptor levels were approximately 50% lower in heterozygous mice in all regions examined. However, maximal stimulation of [(35)S]guanosine-5'-(gamma-O-thio) triphosphate ([(35)S]GTPgammaS) binding by the high efficacy agonist WIN 55,212-2 was reduced by only 20-25% in most brain regions, with the exception of striatum/GP where the decrease in stimulation was as predicted (approximately 50%). Furthermore, although the efficacies of the cannabinoid partial agonists, methanandamide and (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, were similarly lower in heterozygous mice, their relative efficacies compared with WIN 55,212-2 were generally unchanged. Saturation analysis of net WIN 55,212-2-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding showed that decreased stimulation by WIN 55,212-2 in striatum/GP of heterozygous mice was caused by a decrease in the apparent affinity of net-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding. The apparent maximal number of binding sites (B(max)) values of net WIN 55,212-2-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding were unchanged in cerebellum and striatum/GP of heterozygous mice, but decreased in cingulate cortex, with a similar trend in hippocampus. Moreover, in every region except cingulate cortex, the maximal number of net-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding sites per receptor was significantly increased in heterozygous mice. These results indicate region-dependent increases in the apparent efficiency of CB1 receptor-mediated G-protein activation in heterozygous CB1 knockout mice.
J. Neurochem. May (2001); 4(77): 1048-57
Leptin-regulated endocannabinoids are involved in maintaining food intake.
Leptin is the primary signal through which the hypothalamus senses nutritional state and modulates food intake and energy balance. Leptin reduces food intake by upregulating anorexigenic (appetite-reducing) neuropeptides, such as alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, and downregulating orexigenic (appetite-stimulating) factors, primarily neuropeptide Y. Genetic defects in anorexigenic signalling, such as mutations in the melanocortin-4 (ref. 5) or leptin receptors, cause obesity. However, alternative orexigenic pathways maintain food intake in mice deficient in neuropeptide Y. CB1 cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol are present in the hypothalamus, and marijuana and anandamide stimulate food intake. Here we show that following temporary food restriction, CB1 receptor knockout mice eat less than their wild-type littermates, and the CB1 antagonist SR141716A reduces food intake in wild-type but not knockout mice. Furthermore, defective leptin signalling is associated with elevated hypothalamic, but not cerebellar, levels of endocannabinoids in obese db/db and ob/ob mice and Zucker rats. Acute leptin treatment of normal rats and ob/ob mice reduces anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol in the hypothalamus. These findings indicate that endocannabinoids in the hypothalamus may tonically activate CB1 receptors to maintain food intake and form part of the neural circuitry regulated by leptin.
Nature Apr (2001); 6830(410): 822-5
Dysregulated cannabinoid signaling disrupts uterine receptivity for embryo implantation.
The mechanisms by which synchronized embryonic development to the blastocyst stage, preparation of the uterus for the receptive state, and reciprocal embryo-uterine interactions for implantation are coordinated are still unclear. We show in this study that preimplantation embryo development became asynchronous in mice that are deficient in brain-type (CB1) and/or spleen-type (CB2) cannabinoid receptor genes. Furthermore, whereas the levels of uterine anandamide (endocannabinoid) and blastocyst CB1 are coordinately down-regulated with the onset of uterine receptivity and blastocyst activation prior to implantation, these levels remained high in the nonreceptive uterus and in dormant blastocysts during delayed implantation and in pregnant, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)-deficient mice with implantation failure. These results suggest that a tight regulation of endocannabinoid signaling is important for synchronizing embryo development with uterine receptivity for implantation. Indeed this is consistent with our finding that while an experimentally induced, sustained level of an exogenously administered, natural cannabinoid inhibited implantation in wild-type mice, it failed to do so in CB1(-/-)/CB2(-/-) double mutant mice. The present study is clinically important because of the widely debated medicinal use of cannabinoids and their reported adverse effects on pregnancy.
J. Biol. Chem. Jun (2001); 23(276): 20523-8
Functional annotation of a full-length mouse cDNA collection.
The RIKEN Mouse Gene Encyclopaedia Project, a systematic approach to determining the full coding potential of the mouse genome, involves collection and sequencing of full-length complementary DNAs and physical mapping of the corresponding genes to the mouse genome. We organized an international functional annotation meeting (FANTOM) to annotate the first 21,076 cDNAs to be analysed in this project. Here we describe the first RIKEN clone collection, which is one of the largest described for any organism. Analysis of these cDNAs extends known gene families and identifies new ones.
Nature Feb (2001); 6821(409): 685-90
Molecular phylogenetics and the origins of placental mammals.
The precise hierarchy of ancient divergence events that led to the present assemblage of modern placental mammals has been an area of controversy among morphologists, palaeontologists and molecular evolutionists. Here we address the potential weaknesses of limited character and taxon sampling in a comprehensive molecular phylogenetic analysis of 64 species sampled across all extant orders of placental mammals. We examined sequence variation in 18 homologous gene segments (including nearly 10,000 base pairs) that were selected for maximal phylogenetic informativeness in resolving the hierarchy of early mammalian divergence. Phylogenetic analyses identify four primary superordinal clades: (I) Afrotheria (elephants, manatees, hyraxes, tenrecs, aardvark and elephant shrews); (II) Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters and armadillos); (III) Glires (rodents and lagomorphs), as a sister taxon to primates, flying lemurs and tree shrews; and (IV) the remaining orders of placental mammals (cetaceans, artiodactyls, perissodactyls, carnivores, pangolins, bats and core insectivores). Our results provide new insight into the pattern of the early placental mammal radiation.
Nature Feb (2001); 6820(409): 614-8
Cannabinoid CB1 receptor knockout mice fail to self-administer morphine but not other drugs of abuse.
The rewarding effects of morphine, cocaine, amphetamine and nicotine were evaluated in CB1 receptor knockout mice by means of an intravenous self-administration model. Experiments were carried out on drug-naive animals using a nose-poking response (NPR)-like as operandum. The results of the present study indicate that morphine did not induce intravenous self-administration in mutant CB1 receptor knockout mice, whereas it was significantly self-administered by the corresponding wild type mice. On the contrary, cocaine, amphetamine and nicotine were self-administered to the same extent by both wild type and CB1 receptor knockout mice. These data clearly indicate that the CB1 cannabinoid receptor is essential not only for the expression of cannabinoid reinforcing effects but also for the modulation of morphine rewarding effects. The specificity of such interaction is supported by the finding that contrary to morphine, cocaine, d-amphetamine and nicotine were self-administered by mice at the same extent either in presence or in absence of the CB1 receptor.
Behav. Brain Res. Jan (2001); 1(118): 61-5
RIKEN integrated sequence analysis (RISA) system--384-format sequencing pipeline with 384 multicapillary sequencer.
The RIKEN high-throughput 384-format sequencing pipeline (RISA system) including a 384-multicapillary sequencer (the so-called RISA sequencer) was developed for the RIKEN mouse encyclopedia project. The RISA system consists of colony picking, template preparation, sequencing reaction, and the sequencing process. A novel high-throughput 384-format capillary sequencer system (RISA sequencer system) was developed for the sequencing process. This system consists of a 384-multicapillary auto sequencer (RISA sequencer), a 384-multicapillary array assembler (CAS), and a 384-multicapillary casting device. The RISA sequencer can simultaneously analyze 384 independent sequencing products. The optical system is a scanning system chosen after careful comparison with an image detection system for the simultaneous detection of the 384-capillary array. This scanning system can be used with any fluorescent-labeled sequencing reaction (chain termination reaction), including transcriptional sequencing based on RNA polymerase, which was originally developed by us, and cycle sequencing based on thermostable DNA polymerase. For long-read sequencing, 380 out of 384 sequences (99.2%) were successfully analyzed and the average read length, with more than 99% accuracy, was 654.4 bp. A single RISA sequencer can analyze 216 kb with >99% accuracy in 2.7 h (90 kb/h). For short-read sequencing to cluster the 3' end and 5' end sequencing by reading 350 bp, 384 samples can be analyzed in 1.5 h. We have also developed a RISA inoculator, RISA filtrator and densitometer, RISA plasmid preparator which can handle throughput of 40,000 samples in 17.5 h, and a high-throughput RISA thermal cycler which has four 384-well sites. The combination of these technologies allowed us to construct the RISA system consisting of 16 RISA sequencers, which can process 50,000 DNA samples per day. One haploid genome shotgun sequence of a higher organism, such as human, mouse, rat, domestic animals, and plants, can be revealed by seven RISA systems within one month.
Genome Res. Nov (2000); 11(10): 1757-71
Cocaine, but not morphine, induces conditioned place preference and sensitization to locomotor responses in CB1 knockout mice.
The involvement of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in morphine and cocaine motivational effects was investigated using CB1 knockout mice. For this purpose, we evaluated the rewarding effects in the place conditioning paradigm and the sensitization to the locomotor responses induced by these drugs. The hyperlocomotion induced by acute morphine administration (15 mg/kg, s.c.) was preserved, but the sensitization to this locomotor response induced by chronic morphine treatment was abolished in CB1 mutant mice. Morphine (5 mg/kg, s.c.) induced conditioned place preference in wild-type mice but failed to produce any response in knockout mice, indicating the inability of morphine to induce rewarding effects in the absence of CB1 cannabinoid receptors. When the aversive effects of morphine withdrawal were investigated using the place aversion paradigm, no differences between genotypes were observed. Acute cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) induced hyperlocomotor responses in wild-type and knockout mice and a chronic cocaine treatment produced a similar sensitization to this response in both genotypes. In the conditioning place preference paradigm, cocaine (20 mg/kg, i.p.) produced rewarding responses in both wild-type and knockout mice. These results demonstrate that CB1 receptors are essential for adaptive responses produced by chronic morphine but not by chronic cocaine treatment.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Nov (2000); 11(12): 4038-46
Normalization and subtraction of cap-trapper-selected cDNAs to prepare full-length cDNA libraries for rapid discovery of new genes.
In the effort to prepare the mouse full-length cDNA encyclopedia, we previously developed several techniques to prepare and select full-length cDNAs. To increase the number of different cDNAs, we introduce here a strategy to prepare normalized and subtracted cDNA libraries in a single step. The method is based on hybridization of the first-strand, full-length cDNA with several RNA drivers, including starting mRNA as the normalizing driver and run-off transcripts from minilibraries containing highly expressed genes, rearrayed clones, and previously sequenced cDNAs as subtracting drivers. Our method keeps the proportion of full-length cDNAs in the subtracted/normalized library high. Moreover, our method dramatically enhances the discovery of new genes as compared to results obtained by using standard, full-length cDNA libraries. This procedure can be extended to the preparation of full-length cDNA encyclopedias from other organisms.
Genome Res. Oct (2000); 10(10): 1617-30
Behaviroal, pharmacological, and molecular characterization of an amphibian cannabinoid receptor.
Investigation of cannabinoid pharmacology in a vertebrate with a phylogenetic history distinct from that of mammals may allow better understanding of the physiological significance of cannabinoid neurochemistry. Taricha granulosa, the roughskin newt, was used here to characterize an amphibian cannabinoid receptor. Behavioral experiments demonstrated that the cannabinoid agonist levonantradol inhibits both newt spontaneous locomotor activity and courtship clasping behavior. Inhibition of clasping was dose-dependent and potent (IC(50) = 1.2 microgram per animal). Radioligand binding studies using [(3)H]CP-55940 allowed identification of a specific binding site (K(D) = 6.5 nM, B(max) = 1,853 fmol/mg of protein) in brain membranes. Rank order of affinity of several ligands was consistent with that reported for mammalian species (K(D), nM) : CP-55940 (3.8) > levonantradol (13.0) > WIN55212-2 (25.7) >> anandamide (1,665) approximately anandamide 100 microM phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (2,398). The cDNA encoding the newt CB1 cannabinoid receptor was cloned, and the corresponding mRNA of 5.9 kb was found to be highly expressed in brain. A nonclonal Chinese hamster ovary cell line stably expressing the newt CB1 cannabinoid receptor was prepared that allowed demonstration of cannabinoid-mediated inhibition of adenylate cyclase (EC 184.108.40.206) activity. This inhibition was dose-dependent and occurred at concentrations consistent with affinities determined through radioligand binding experiments. The behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular cloning results demonstrate that a CB1 cannabinoid receptor is expressed in the CNS of the roughskin newt. This amphibian CB1 is very similar in density, ligand binding affinity, ligand binding specificity, and amino acid sequence to mammalian CB1. The high degree of evolutionary conservation of cannabinoid signaling systems implies an important physiological role in vertebrate brain function.
J. Neurochem. Jul (2000); 1(75): 413-23
Reduction of stress-induced analgesia but not of exogenous opioid effects in mice lacking CB1 receptors.
CB1 cannabinoid receptors are widely distributed in the central nervous system where they mediate most of the cannabinoid-induced responses. Here we have evaluated the interactions between the CB1 cannabinoid receptors and the endogenous opioid system by assaying a number of well-characterized opioid responses, e.g. antinociception and stress-mediated effects, on mutant mice in which the CB1 receptor gene was invalidated. The spontaneous responses to various nociceptive stimuli (thermal, mechanical and visceral pain) were not changed in mutant CB1 mice. Furthermore, the absence of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor did not modify the antinociceptive effects induced by different opioid agonists: morphine (preferential mu opioid agonist), D-Pen2-D-Pen5-enkephalin (DPDPE) and deltorphin II (selective delta opioid agonists), and U-50,488H (selective kappa opioid agonist) in the hot-plate and tail-immersion tests. In contrast, the stress-induced opioid mediated responses were modified in CB1 mutants. Indeed, these mutants did not exhibit antinociception following a forced swim in water at 34 degrees C and presented a decrease in the immobility induced by the previous exposure to electric footshock. However, the antinociception induced by a forced swim in water at 10 degrees C was preserved in CB1 mutants. These results indicate that CB1 receptors are not involved in the antinociceptive responses to exogenous opioids, but that a physiological interaction between the opioid and cannabinoid systems is necessary to allow the development of opioid-mediated responses to stress.
Eur. J. Neurosci. Feb (2000); 2(12): 533-9
Enhanced long-term potentiation in mice lacking cannabinoid CB1 receptors.
Marijuana is known to affect learning and memory in humans, and cannabinoids block long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, a model for the synaptic changes that are believed to underlie memory at the cellular level. We have now examined the physiological properties of the Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses in mutant mice in which the CB1 receptor gene has been invalidated and found that these animals exhibit a half-larger long-term potentiation than wild-type controls. Other properties of these synapses, such as paired-pulse facilitation, remained unchanged. This indicates that disrupting CB1 receptor-mediated neurotransmission at the genome level produces mutant mice with an enhanced capacity to strengthen synaptic connections in a brain region crucial for memory formation.
Neuroscience (2000); 1(95): 5-7
Enhancement of memory in cannabinoid CB1 receptor knock-out mice.
We have used cannabinoid CB knock-out mice in a two-trial object recognition test to assess the role of cannabinoid CB receptors in memory. Cannabinoid CB1 knock-out mice are able to retain memory for at least 48 h after the first trial whereas the wild-type controls lose their capacity to retain memory after 24 h. These results suggest that endogenous cannabinoid CB receptors play a crucial role in the process of memory storage and retrieval.
Eur. J. Pharmacol. Aug (1999); 1(379): R1-2
High-efficiency full-length cDNA cloning.
Meth. Enzymol. (1999); 0(303): 19-44
Altered gene expression in striatal projection neurons in CB1 cannabinoid receptor knockout mice.
The basal ganglia, a brain structure critical for sensorimotor and motivational aspects of behavior, contain very high levels of CB1 cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are activated by endogenous lipophilic ligands, and they are thought to mediate behavioral effects of cannabinoid drugs. To evaluate the role of the endogenous cannabinoid system in the regulation of basal ganglia pathways, we have investigated the effects of targeted deletion of CB1 receptors on gene expression of various neuropeptides and transmitter-related enzymes in basal ganglia neurons. Mice without CB1 receptors are extremely hypoactive in a test for exploratory behavior (open-field test), showing markedly reduced locomotion and rearing. These CB1 mutants display significantly increased levels of substance P, dynorphin, enkephalin, and GAD 67 mRNAs in neurons of the two output pathways of the striatum that project to the substantia nigra and the globus pallidus. Our findings demonstrate that elimination of CB1 receptors results in behavioral abnormalities and functional reorganization of the basal ganglia.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. May (1999); 10(96): 5786-90
Increased mortality, hypoactivity, and hypoalgesia in cannabinoid CB1 receptor knockout mice.
Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC), the major psychoactive ingredient in preparations of Cannabis sativa (marijuana, hashish), elicits central nervous system (CNS) responses, including cognitive alterations and euphoria. These responses account for the abuse potential of cannabis, while other effects such as analgesia suggest potential medicinal applications. To study the role of the major known target of cannabinoids in the CNS, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, we have produced a mouse strain with a disrupted CB1 gene. CB1 knockout mice appeared healthy and fertile, but they had a significantly increased mortality rate. They also displayed reduced locomotor activity, increased ring catalepsy, and hypoalgesia in hotplate and formalin tests. Delta9-THC-induced ring-catalepsy, hypomobility, and hypothermia were completely absent in CB1 mutant mice. In contrast, we still found Delta9-THC-induced analgesia in the tail-flick test and other behavioral (licking of the abdomen) and physiological (diarrhea) responses after Delta9-THC administration. Thus, most, but not all, CNS effects of Delta9-THC are mediated by the CB1 receptor.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. May (1999); 10(96): 5780-5
Unresponsiveness to cannabinoids and reduced addictive effects of opiates in CB1 receptor knockout mice.
The function of the central cannabinoid receptor (CB1) was investigated by invalidating its gene. Mutant mice did not respond to cannabinoid drugs, demonstrating the exclusive role of the CB1 receptor in mediating analgesia, reinforcement, hypothermia, hypolocomotion, and hypotension. The acute effects of opiates were unaffected, but the reinforcing properties of morphine and the severity of the withdrawal syndrome were strongly reduced. These observations suggest that the CB1 receptor is involved in the motivational properties of opiates and in the development of physical dependence and extend the concept of an interconnected role of CB1 and opiate receptors in the brain areas mediating addictive behavior.
Science Jan (1999); 5400(283): 401-4
The genes encoding the peripheral cannabinoid receptor and alpha-L-fucosidase are located near a newly identified common virus integration site, Evi11.
A new common region of virus integration, Evi11, has been identified in two retrovirally induced murine myeloid leukemia cell lines, NFS107 and NFS78. By interspecific backcross analysis, it was shown that Evi11 is located at the distal end of mouse chromosome 4, in a region that shows homology with human 1p36. The genes encoding the peripheral cannabinoid receptor (Cnr2) and alpha-L-fucosidase (Fuca1) were identified near the integration site by using a novel exon trapping system. Cnr2 is suggested to be the target gene for viral interference in Evi11, since proviruses are integrated in the first intron of Cnr2 and retroviral integrations alter mRNA expression of Cnr2 in NFS107 and NFS78. In addition, proviral integrations were demonstrated within the 3' untranslated region of Cnr2 in five independent newly derived CasBrM-MuLV (mouse murine leukemia virus) tumors, CSL13, CSL14, CSL16, CSL27, and CSL97. The Cnr2 gene encodes a seven-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptor which is normally expressed in hematopoietic tissues. Our data suggest that the peripheral cannabinoid receptor gene might be involved in leukemogenesis as a result of aberrant expression of Cnr2 due to retroviral integration in Evi11.
J. Virol. Sep (1997); 9(71): 6796-804
Physical and genetic localization of the bovine cannabinoid receptor (CNR1) gene to bovine chromosome 9.
Mamm. Genome Apr (1997); 4(8): 301-2
Isolation and expression of a mouse CB1 cannabinoid receptor gene. Comparison of binding properties with those of native CB1 receptors in mouse brain and N18TG2 neuroblastoma cells.
The predominant animal model in which the pharmacology of cannabinoids is studied is the mouse. Nonetheless, the structure and functional expression of the mouse cannabinoid receptor (CB1) gene have not been reported. We have cloned and expressed the gene for the mouse CB1 receptor and compared its properties with those of native mouse CB1 receptors in brain and N18TG2 neuroblastoma cells. The mouse CB1 gene was isolated from a mouse 129 strain genomic library. Sequence analysis of a 6-kb BamHI fragment of the mouse CB1 genomic clone indicates 95% nucleic acid identity between mouse and rat (99.5% amino acid identity) and 90% nucleic acid identity (97% amino acid identity) between mouse and human. Examination of the 5' untranslated sequence of the mouse CB1 genomic clone revealed a splice junction site approximately 60 bp upstream from the translation start site, indicating the possibility of splice variants of the CB1 receptors. The coding region of the mouse CB1 receptor was stably expressed in 293 cells, and binding by [3H]SR 141716A and [3H]CP-55,940 was determined. The Bmax and Kd values obtained with [3H]SR 141716A (921 +/- 58 fmol/mg and 0.73 +/- 0.13 nM, respectively) were similar to those of native mouse CB1 receptors in brain (Bmax of 1.81 +/- 0.44 pmol/mg, Kd of 0.16 +/- 0.01 nM) and N18TG2 cells (Bmax of 197 +/- 29 fmol/mg, Kd of 0.182 +/- 0.08 nM). The mouse CB1 receptor genomic clone will be a useful tool for studying the function and regulation of the CB1 receptor in mice.
Biochem. Pharmacol. Jan (1997); 2(53): 207-14
Normalization and subtraction: two approaches to facilitate gene discovery.
Large-scale sequencing of cDNAs randomly picked from libraries has proven to be a very powerful approach to discover (putatively) expressed sequences that, in turn, once mapped, may greatly expedite the process involved in the identification and cloning of human disease genes. However, the integrity of the data and the pace at which novel sequences can be identified depends to a great extent on the cDNA libraries that are used. Because altogether, in a typical cell, the mRNAs of the prevalent and intermediate frequency classes comprise as much as 50-65% of the total mRNA mass, but represent no more than 1000-2000 different mRNAs, redundant identification of mRNAs of these two frequency classes is destined to become overwhelming relatively early in any such random gene discovery programs, thus seriously compromising their cost-effectiveness. With the goal of facilitating such efforts, previously we developed a method to construct directionally cloned normalized cDNA libraries and applied it to generate infant brain (INIB) and fetal liver/spleen (INFLS) libraries, from which a total of 45,192 and 86,088 expressed sequence tags, respectively, have been derived. While improving the representation of the longest cDNAs in our libraries, we developed three additional methods to normalize cDNA libraries and generated over 35 libraries, most of which have been contributed to our integrated Molecular Analysis of Genomes and Their Expression (IMAGE) Consortium and thus distributed widely and used for sequencing and mapping. In an attempt to facilitate the process of gene discovery further, we have also developed a subtractive hybridization approach designed specifically to eliminate (or reduce significantly the representation of) large pools of arrayed and (mostly) sequenced clones from normalized libraries yet to be (or just partly) surveyed. Here we present a detailed description and a comparative analysis of four methods that we developed and used to generate normalize cDNA libraries from human (15), mouse (3), rat (2), as well as the parasite Schistosoma mansoni (1). In addition, we describe the construction and preliminary characterization of a subtracted liver/spleen library (INFLS-SI) that resulted from the elimination (or reduction of representation) of -5000 INFLS-IMAGE clones from the INFLS library.
Genome Res. Sep (1996); 9(6): 791-806
Activation of brain-type cannabinoid receptors interferes with preimplantation mouse embryo development.
The recent identification and cloning of guanine nucleotide regulatory protein-coupled brain-type and spleen-type cannabinoid receptors (CB1-R and CB2-R, respectively) provide evidence that many of the effects of cannabinoids are mediated via these receptors. Our recent observation of expression of both CB1-R and CB2-R genes in the preimplantation mouse embryo suggests that it could also be a target for cannabinoids. Indeed, cannabinoid agonists interfered with preimplantation embryo development in vitro. To examine whether cannabinoid effects on preimplantation embryos are mediated via CB1-R, we developed rabbit antipeptide antibodies against the N-terminal region of CB1-R and examined the receptor protein in the blastocyst by Western blotting and its spatiotemporal distribution in preimplantation mouse embryos by immunohistochemistry. Cannabinoid binding sites in the blastocyst were examined by Scatchard analysis, while the reversibility of cannabinoid-induced embryonic arrest in vitro was monitored using a specific antagonist to CB1-R, SR141716A. Western blot analysis detected a major band of approximately 59 kDa and a minor band of approximately 54 kDa in the blastocyst. Immunocytochemistry detected this receptor protein from the 2-cell through the blastocyst stages. Scatchard analysis using 3H-anandamide (an endogenous ligand) showed a single class of binding sites in Day 4 blastocysts with an apparent Kd of 1.0 nM and Bmax of 0.09 fmol/blastocyst. Considering the total number of cells (approximately 50) and total protein content (approximately 20 ng) of a blastocyst, it is apparent that the mouse blastocyst has many more high-affinity receptors than those in the mouse brain (Kd: 1.8 nM and Bmax: 18.8 pmol/mg membrane protein). Cannabinoid agonists and the CB1-R antagonist SR141716A effectively competed for anandamide binding in the blastocyst. To determine whether cannabinoid inhibition of embryonic development could be reversed by SR141716A, 2-cell embryos were cultured in the presence of cannabinoid agonists with or without SR141716A for 72 h. Most of the 2-cell embryos cultured in the absence of the agonists developed into blastocysts (approximately 90%). In contrast, the addition of cannabinoid agonists anandamide, Win 55212-2, or CP 55,940 in the culture medium severely compromised embryonic development: more than 60% of the 2-cell embryos failed to develop to blastocysts. A reduction in trophectoderm cell numbers was noted in those blastocysts that escaped the developmental arrest in the presence of cannabinoid agonists. However, this reduction was corrected when embryos were cultured simultaneously with an agonist and SR141716A. Furthermore, embryonic arrest was reversed when embryos were cultured simultaneously in the presence of an agonist and SR141716A. The addition of SR141716A alone in the culture medium apparently had no effects on embryonic development: more than 90% of the embryos developed into blastocysts. The results suggest that the CB1 receptors in preimplantation mouse embryos are biologically active and cannabinoid effects on them are primarily mediated by these receptors.
Biol. Reprod. Oct (1996); 4(55): 756-61
The gene encoding the central cannabinoid receptor is located in proximal mouse Chromosome 4.
Mamm. Genome Feb (1996); 2(7): 165-6
Neurobehavioral effects of delta 9-THC and cannabinoid (CB1) receptor gene expression in mice.
The differential sensitivity following the administration of delta 9-THC to 3 mouse strains, C57BL/6, DBA/2 and ICR mice, indicated that some of the neurobehavioral changes may be attributable to genetic differences. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which the cannabinoid (CB1) receptor is involved in the observed behavioral changes following delta 9-THC administration. This objective was addressed by experiments using: (1) DNA-PCR and reverse PCR; (2) systemic administration of delta 9-THC, and; (3) intracerebral microinjection of delta 9-THC. The site specificity of action of delta 9-THC in the brain was determined using stereotaxic surgical approaches. The intracerebral microinjection of delta 9-THC into the nucleus accumbens was found to induce catalepsy, while injection of delta 9-THC into the central nucleus of amygdala resulted in the production of an anxiogenic-like response. Although the DNA-PCR data indicated that the CB1 gene appeared to be identical and intronless in all 3 mouse strains, the reverse PCR data showed two additional distinct CB1 mRNAs in the C57BL/6 mouse which also differed in pain sensitivity and rectal temperature changes following the administration of delta 9-THC. It is suggested that the diverse neurobehavioral alterations induced by delta 9-THC may not be mediated solely by the CB1 receptors in the brain and that the CB1 genes may not be uniform in the mouse strains.
Behav. Brain Res. Dec (1995); 1(72): 115-25
Cloning and sequencing of a cDNA encoding the mouse brain-type cannabinoid receptor protein.
Mouse brain-type cannabinoid receptor (CB1) cDNA was cloned and sequenced. Comparison to rat and human CB1 sequences showed extensive homology (>96%) both at the nucleotide and protein levels implicating the importance of this protein in mammalian brain physiology.
DNA Seq. (1995); 6(5): 385-8
Insight into the microphthalmia gene.
The murine microphthalmia gene (mi) is one of the last multi-allelic, classic coat-colour genes to be cloned in the mouse and, similar to many of these genes, encodes an exciting molecule that is is involved in multiple developmental processes. The existence of the numerous alleles has allowed the molecular dissection of the function of the MI bHLH-Zip transcription factor in vivo and offers a unique opportunity to understand the function of a multimeric transcription factor throughout development and in many tissues. It is also the gene mutated in some patients with the human deafness syndrome, Waardenburg's syndrome type II, and hence helps to understand this syndrome.
Trends Genet. Nov (1995); 11(11): 442-8
The preimplantation mouse embryo is a target for cannabinoid ligand-receptor signaling.
Using a reverse transcription-coupled PCR, we demonstrated that both brain and spleen type cannabinoid receptor (CB1-R and CB2-R, respectively) mRNAs are expressed in the preimplantation mouse embryo. The CB1-R mRNA expression was coincident with the activation of the embryonic genome late in the two-cell stage, whereas the CB2-R mRNA was present from the one-cell through the blastocyst stages. The major psychoactive component of marijuana (-)-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [(-)-THC] inhibited forskolin-stimulated cAMP generation in the blastocyst, and this inhibition was prevented by pertussis toxin. However, the inactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) failed to influence this response. These results suggest that cannabinoid receptors in the embryo are coupled to inhibitory guanine nucleotide binding proteins. Further, the oviduct and uterus exhibited the enzymatic capacity to synthesize the putative endogenous cannabinoid ligand arachidonylethanolamide (anandamide). Synthetic and natural cannabinoid agonists [WIN 55,212-2, CP 55,940, (-)-THC, and anandamide], but not CBD or arachidonic acid, arrested the development of two-cell embryos primarily between the four-cell and eight-cell stages in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. Anandamide also interfered with the development of eight-cell embryos to blastocysts in culture. The autoradiographic studies readily detected binding of [3H]anandamide in embryos at all stages of development. Positive signals were present in one-cell embryos and all blastomeres of two-cell through four-cell embryos. However, most of the binding sites in eight-cell embryos and morulae were present in the outer cells. In the blastocyst, these signals were primarily localized in the mural trophectoderm with low levels of signals in the polar trophectoderm, while little or no signals were noted in inner cell mass cells.These results establish that the preimplantation mouse embryo is a target for cannabinoid ligands. Consequently, many of the adverse effects of cannabinoids observed during pregnancy could be mediated via these cannabinoid receptors. Although the physiological significance of the cannabinoid ligand-receptor signaling in normal preimplantation embryo development is not yet clear, the regulation of embryonic cAMP and/or Ca2+ levels via this signaling pathway may be important for normal embryonic development and/or implantation.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Oct (1995); 21(92): 9460-4