Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Res. 2006 Apr 26;1085(1):163-76. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Neuronal cytoskeleton and synaptic densities are altered after a chronic treatment with the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2.

Author information

Instituto de BiologĂ­a Celular y Neurociencias "Prof. E. De Robertis", Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Paraguay 2155, 3(er) piso, (C1121ABG), Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are the most abundant G-protein-coupled receptors in the brain. Its presynaptic location suggests a role for cannabinoids in modulating the release of neurotransmitters from axon terminals by retrograde signaling. The neuroprotective effects of cannabinoid agonists in animal models of ischemia, seizures, hypoxia, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington and Parkinson disease have been demonstrated in several reports. The proposed mechanism for the neuroprotection ranges from antioxidant effects, reduction of microglial activation and anti-inflammatory reaction to receptor-mediated reduction of glutamate release. In the present work, we analyzed the morphological changes induced by a chronic treatment with the synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist, WIN 55,212-2, in four brain regions where the CB1 cannabinoid receptor is present in high density: the CA1 hippocampal area, corpus striatum, cerebellum and frontal cortex. After a twice-daily treatment for 14 days with the cannabinoid receptor agonist (3 mg/kg sc, each dose) to male Wistar rats (150-170 g), the expression of neurofilaments (Nf-160 and Nf-200), microtubule-associated protein-2 (MAP-2), synaptophysin (Syn) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was studied by immunohistochemistry and digital image analysis. Ultrastructural study of the synapses was done using electron microscopy. After the treatment, a significant increase in the expression of neuronal cytoskeletal proteins (Nf-160, Nf-200, MAP-2) was observed, but we did not find changes in the expression of GFAP, the main astroglial cytoskeletal protein. In cerebellum, there was an increase in Syn expression and in the number of synaptic vesicles, while, in the hippocampus, an increase in the Syn expression and in the thickness of the postsynaptic densities was observed. The results obtained from these studies provide evidences on the absence of astroglial reaction and a sprouting phenomena induced by the WIN treatment that might be a key contributor to the long-term neuroprotective effects observed after cannabinoid treatments in different models of central nervous system (CNS) injury reported in the literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center