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J Neurochem. 2006 May;97(4):1145-54.

Cannabinoid modulation of electrically evoked pH and oxygen transients in the nucleus accumbens of awake rats.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Neuroscience Center, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3290, USA.


Cannabinoid receptors have been implicated in the regulation of blood flow in the cerebral vasculature. Because the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shows high levels of central cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) expression we examined the effects of cannabinoids on the local transient alkaline shifts and increases in extracellular oxygen induced by electrical stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) in conscious animals. These changes result from increases in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and metabolism in the NAc that are evoked by the stimulation. Oxygen and pH changes were monitored using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry at carbon-fiber microelectrodes in the NAc of freely moving rats. Administration of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 potently inhibited extracellular oxygen and pH changes, an effect that was reversed and prevented by pre-treatment with the CB1 receptor antagonists SR141716A and AM251. The effects on pH following WIN55,212-2 were similar to those following nimodipine, a recognized vasodilator. When AM251 was injected alone, the amplitude of electrically evoked pH shifts was unaffected. Administration of AM404 and VDM11, endocannabinoid transport inhibitors, partially inhibited pH transients in a CB1 receptor-dependent manner. The present findings suggest that CB1 receptor activation modulates changes in two well-established indices of local blood flow and metabolism resulting from electrically evoked activation of ascending fibers. Although endogenous cannabinoid tone alone is not sufficient to modify these responses, uptake blockade demonstrates that the system has the potential to exert CB1-specific effects similar to those of full agonists.

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