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Neuropharmacology. 2008 Jan;54(1):51-7. Epub 2007 Jul 17.

CB1 receptor-dependent and -independent inhibition of excitatory postsynaptic currents in the hippocampus by WIN 55,212-2.

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Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szigony u. 43, Budapest H-1450, Hungary.


We investigated the effect of a synthetic cannabinoid, WIN 55,212-2 on excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) evoked by stimulation of Schaffer collaterals in CA1 pyramidal cells. Bath application of WIN 55,212-2 reduced the amplitude of EPSCs in dose-dependent manner tested between 0.01 nM and 30 microM. In rats and mice, this cannabinoid ligand inhibited excitatory synapses in two steps at the nM and muM concentrations. When the function of CB(1) cannabinoid receptors (CB(1)R) was impaired, either by the application of a CB(1)R antagonist AM251, or by using CB(1)R knockout mice, WIN 55,212-2 in microM concentrations could still significantly reduced the amplitude of EPSCs. WIN 55,212-2 likely affected the efficacy of excitatory transmission only at presynaptic sites, since both at low and high doses the paired pulse ratio of EPSC amplitude was significantly increased. The inactive enantiomer, WIN 55,212-3, mimicked the effect of WIN 55,212-2 applied in high doses. In further experiments we found that the CB(1)R-independent effect of 10 microM WIN 55,212-2 at glutamatergic synapses was fully abolished, when slices were pre-treated with omega-conotoxin GVIA, but not with omega-agatoxin IVA. These data suggest that, in the hippocampus, WIN 55,212-2 reduces glutamate release from Schaffer collaterals solely via CB(1)Rs in the nM concentration range, whereas in microM concentrations, WIN 55,212-2 suppresses excitatory transmission, in addition to activation of CB(1)Rs, by directly blocking N-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels independent of CB(1)Rs.

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