Send to

Choose Destination
Behav Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;16(5-6):381-8.

The role of CB1 receptors in sweet versus fat reinforcement: effect of CB1 receptor deletion, CB1 receptor antagonism (SR141716A) and CB1 receptor agonism (CP-55940).

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


It is well established that Cannabis sativa can increase appetite, particularly for sweet and palatable foods. In laboratory animals, cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonism decreases motivation for palatable foods, and most recently, the CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A, or rimonabant (Acomplia), was reported to produce weight loss in obese human subjects. Indeed, the endocannabinoid system plays a select role in the rewarding properties of palatable foods, and this is well characterized in laboratory animals with sweet sucrose solutions. In the present study, CB1 knockout mice (CB1 KO) and wild-type littermate mice (WT) were trained to respond for a complex sweet as well as a pure fat reinforcer under a progressive ratio (PR) schedule, to determine whether motivation to consume different palatable foods is tonically regulated by CB1 receptors. To assess sweet reinforcement, several concentrations of the liquid nutritional drink, Ensure, were presented under the PR schedule. For fat reinforcement, several concentrations of corn oil (emulsified in 3% xanthan gum) were made available. Additionally, to compare the result of genetic invalidation of the CB1 receptor to antagonism of the CB1 receptor system, the effect of SR141716A (3.0 mg/kg) on responding for Ensure and corn oil were also assessed using the PR schedule. We also assessed the effect of the CB1 agonist CP-55940 (30 microg/kg) on responding for Ensure and corn oil. CB1 KOs took significantly longer to acquire operant responding maintained by Ensure, and responding for Ensure under the PR schedule was significantly reduced in CB1 KOs as well as in WTs pretreated with SR141716A, as compared to WT controls. Additionally, pretreatment with the CB1 agonist CP-55940 increased responding for Ensure. In contrast, responding for corn oil during acquisition and under the PR schedule was not significantly different in CB1 KOs versus wild-type mice. However, SR141716A did reduce responding for corn oil in WTs, and CP-55940 significantly increased responding for corn oil. Taken together, these results suggest that CB1 receptors are preferentially involved in the reinforcing effects of a complex sweet, as compared to a pure fat, reinforcer. These data also suggest, however, that antagonism of CB1 receptors with SR141716A is sufficient to attenuate the reinforcing effect of Ensure and corn oil, while activation of the central CB1 system is sufficient to enhance Ensure and corn oil reinforcement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center