PubMed: Daily Δ<sup>9</sup>-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Withdrawal Increase Dopamine D<sub>1</sub>-D<sub>2</sub> Receptor Heteromer to Mediate Anhedonia- and Anxiogenic-like Behavior Through a Dynorphin and Kappa Opioid Receptor Mechanism
Biol Psychiatry Glob Open Sci. 2022 Jul 30;3(3):550-566. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2022.07.003. eCollection 2023 Jul.
BACKGROUND: Frequent cannabis use is associated with a higher risk of developing cannabis use disorder and other adverse consequences. However, rodent models studying the underlying mechanisms of the reinforcing and withdrawal effects of the primary constituent of cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have been limited.
METHODS: This study investigated the effects of daily THC (1 mg/kg, intraperitoneal, 9 days) and spontaneous withdrawal (7 days) on hedonic and aversion-like behaviors in male rats. In parallel, underlying neuroadaptive changes in dopaminergic, opioidergic, and cannabinoid signaling in the nucleus accumbens were evaluated, along with a candidate peptide designed to reverse altered signaling.
RESULTS: Chronic THC administration induced anhedonic- and anxiogenic-like behaviors not attributable to altered locomotor activity. These effects persisted after drug cessation. In the nucleus accumbens, THC treatment and withdrawal catalyzed increased cannabinoid CB1 receptor activity without modifying receptor expression. Dopamine D1-D2 receptor heteromer expression rose steeply with THC, accompanied by increased calcium-linked signaling, activation of BDNF/TrkB (brain-derived neurotrophic factor/tropomyosin receptor kinase B) pathway, dynorphin expression, and kappa opioid receptor signaling. Disruption of the D1-D2 heteromer by an interfering peptide during withdrawal reversed the anxiogenic-like and anhedonic-like behaviors as well as the neurochemical changes.
CONCLUSIONS: Chronic THC increases nucleus accumbens dopamine D1-D2 receptor heteromer expression and function, which results in increased dynorphin expression and kappa opioid receptor activation. These changes plausibly reduce dopamine release to trigger anxiogenic- and anhedonic-like behaviors after daily THC administration that persist for at least 7 days after drug cessation. These findings conceivably provide a therapeutic strategy to alleviate negative symptoms associated with cannabis use and withdrawal.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37519471/?utm_source=Chrome&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pubmed-2&utm_content=1NqsX9BbHlDygQ8TcgAlJilHgPpiuKQtyIr–a3-xbLzPoB9xM&fc=20220928170152&ff=20230731190617&v=2.17.9.post6+86293ac July 31, 2023 10:00 am