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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013 Jul;23(7):760-7. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2012.06.012. Epub 2012 Jul 28.

Cannabinoid 2 receptor- and beta Arrestin 2-dependent upregulation of serotonin 2A receptors.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kansas, 1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, 3048B Malott Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045, United States.


Recent evidence suggests that cannabinoid receptor agonists may regulate serotonin 2A (5-HT(2A)) receptor neurotransmission in the brain, although no molecular mechanism has been identified. Here, we present experimental evidence that sustained treatment with a non-selective cannabinoid agonist (CP55,940) or selective CB2 receptor agonists (JWH133 or GP1a) upregulate 5-HT(2A) receptors in a neuronal cell line. Furthermore, this cannabinoid receptor agonist-induced upregulation of 5-HT(2A) receptors was prevented in cells stably transfected with either CB2 or β-Arrestin 2 shRNA lentiviral particles. Additionally, inhibition of clathrin-mediated endocytosis also prevented the cannabinoid receptor-induced upregulation of 5-HT(2A) receptors. Our results indicate that cannabinoid agonists might upregulate 5-HT(2A) receptors by a mechanism that requires CB2 receptors and β-Arrestin 2 in cells that express both CB2 and 5-HT(2A) receptors. 5-HT(2A) receptors have been associated with several physiological functions and neuropsychiatric disorders such as stress response, anxiety and depression, and schizophrenia. Therefore, these results might provide a molecular mechanism by which activation of cannabinoid receptors might be relevant to some cognitive and mood disorders in humans.

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