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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Dec 1;105(3):248-55. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.07.002. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

The CB1 antagonist rimonabant (SR141716) blocks cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking and other context and extinction phenomena predictive of relapse.

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  • 1Temple University School of Pharmacy, 3307 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140, United States.


Cannabinoid CB1 antagonists decrease self-administration of palatable food and several abused drugs in animals and modulate extinction of conditioned fear responses. Less is known, however, about whether and how CB1 antagonists might modulate the extinction of appetitive behavior. Therefore, this study examined the effects of the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant (SR141716) during extinction of responding maintained either by cocaine or by palatable foods (corn oil or Ensure), as well as responding elicited by stimulus cues that had been paired with the presentation of cocaine (i.e., cue-induced reinstatement) or a prime (presentation of cocaine or food). The effect of rimonabant on high rate responding in water-deprived mice trained to self-administer water was also examined. In mice self-administering cocaine, rimonabant attenuated cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine self-administration, the initial burst of responding during cocaine extinction and responding during spontaneous recovery. In mice self-administering corn oil, rimonabant decreased responding during extinction and also attenuated responding that had been reinstated by a priming presentation of corn oil. Moreover, mice treated with rimonabant required fewer daily sessions to reach criterion for extinction of cocaine-maintained responding than vehicle treated mice. Also, rimonabant had no effect on the rate of operant responding in mice trained to respond for water under an FR5 schedule of reinforcement. Taken together, these data suggest that in addition to attenuating the primary reinforcing effects of both palatable foods and drugs of abuse, CB1 receptor antagonism can attenuate context and cue reactivity during extinction learning and potentially enhance extinction learning in this way.

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