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Synapse. 2009 Nov;63(11):941-50. doi: 10.1002/syn.20679.

Endocannabinoid modulation of amphetamine sensitization is disrupted in a rodent model of lesion-induced dopamine dysregulation.

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Neuroscience and Behavior Program, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-3013, USA.


We tested the hypothesis that increased dopaminergic sensitivity induced by olfactory bulbectomy is mediated by dysregulation of endocannabinoid signaling. Bilateral olfactory bulbectomy induces behavioral and neurobiological symptomatology related to increased dopaminergic sensitivity. Rats underwent olfactory bulbectomy or sham operations and were assessed 2 weeks later in two tests of hyperdopaminergic responsivity: locomotor response to novelty and locomotor sensitization to amphetamine. Amphetamine (1 mg/kg i.p.) was administered to rats once daily for 8 consecutive days to induce locomotor sensitization. URB597, an inhibitor of the anandamide hydrolyzing enzyme fatty-acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), was administered daily (0.3 mg/kg i.p.) to sham and olfactory bulbectomized (OBX) rats to investigate the impact of FAAH inhibition on locomotor sensitization to amphetamine. Pharmacological specificity was evaluated with the CB(1) antagonist/inverse agonist rimonabant (1 mg/kg i.p). OBX rats exhibited heightened locomotor activity in response to exposure either to a novel open field or to amphetamine administration relative to sham-operated rats. URB597 produced a CB(1)-mediated attenuation of amphetamine-induced locomotor sensitization in sham-operated rats. By contrast, URB597 failed to inhibit amphetamine sensitization in OBX rats. The present results demonstrate that enhanced endocannabinoid transmission attenuates development of amphetamine sensitization in intact animals but not in animals with OBX-induced dopaminergic dysfunction. Our data collectively suggest that the endocannabinoid system is compromised in olfactory bulbectomized rats.

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