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Nat Neurosci. 2011 Jul 24;14(9):1160-6. doi: 10.1038/nn.2874.

Brain cannabinoid CB₂ receptors modulate cocaine's actions in mice.

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Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The presence and function of cannabinoid CB(2) receptors in the brain have been the subjects of much debate. We found that systemic, intranasal or intra-accumbens local administration of JWH133, a selective CB(2) receptor agonist, dose-dependently inhibited intravenous cocaine self-administration, cocaine-enhanced locomotion, and cocaine-enhanced accumbens extracellular dopamine in wild-type and CB(1) receptor knockout (CB(1)(-/-), also known as Cnr1(-/-)) mice, but not in CB(2)(-/-) (Cnr2(-/-)) mice. This inhibition was mimicked by GW405833, another CB(2) receptor agonist with a different chemical structure, and was blocked by AM630, a selective CB(2) receptor antagonist. Intra-accumbens administration of JWH133 alone dose-dependently decreased, whereas intra-accumbens administration of AM630 elevated, extracellular dopamine and locomotion in wild-type and CB(1)(-/-) mice, but not in CB(2)(-/-) mice. Intra-accumbens administration of AM630 also blocked the reduction in cocaine self-administration and extracellular dopamine produced by systemic administration of JWH133. These findings suggest that brain CB(2) receptors modulate cocaine's rewarding and locomotor-stimulating effects, likely by a dopamine-dependent mechanism.

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