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Mol Pharmacol. 1996 Apr;49(4):707-14.

Rat brain cannabinoid receptor modulates N-type Ca2+ channels in a neuronal expression system.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912, USA.


Modulation of neuronal ion channels by the cloned rat brain CB1 cannabinoid receptor was investigated with the use of a heterologous neuronal expression system. Transient expression of the rat brain CB1 cannabinoid receptor was accomplished through microinjection of in vitro transcribed cRNA into the cytoplasm of enzymatically dissociated adult rat superior cervical ganglion neurons. The cannabimimetic aminoalkylindole WIN 55,212-2 inhibited whole-cell Ca2+ currents in neurons injected 16-25 hr previously with rat brain CB1 cannabinoid receptor cRNA. Inhibition of the Ca2+ current was voltage and concentration dependent, with a maximal inhibition of 73% and an IC50 value of 47 nM. The synthetic cannabinoid analogue CP55,940 also inhibited Ca2+ currents, with a maximal inhibition of 38% and an IC50 value of 7 nM. Ca2+ current inhibition was blocked by inclusion of guanosine-5'-O-(2-thiodiphosphate) in the intracellular patch pipette solution or by pretreatment with pertussis toxin. Pretreatment with the N-type Ca2+ channel antagonist omega-conotoxin GVIA reduced the inhibition by 100 nM WIN 55,212-2 from 44% to 6%, indicating that N-type Ca2+ channels are a target of cannabinoid action. On washout of WIN 55,212-2, the Ca2+ current amplitude "overrecovered" in 47% of the neurons tested. Anandamide, the endogenous cannabimimetic compound, had an inconsistent effect on the voltage-dependent Ca2+ currents in the majority of neurons microinjected with cannabinoid receptor cRNA. Ca2+ channels were a specific effector target of the cannabinoid receptor, as two different K+ currents, the M current and the A current, were not modulated by the cannabimimetic WIN 55,212-2.

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