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J Neurochem. 1997 Jan;68(1):402-9.

Characterization of CB1 receptors on rat neuronal cell cultures: binding and functional studies using the selective receptor antagonist SR 141716A.

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Sanofi Recherche, Montepellier, France.


This study was undertaken to characterize further the central cannabinoid receptors in rat primary neuronal cell cultures from selected brain structures. By using [3H]SR 141716A, the specific CB1 receptor antagonist, we demonstrate in cortical neurons the presence of a high density of specific binding sites (Bmax = 139 +/- 9 fmol/mg of protein) displaying a high affinity (KD = 0.76 +/- 0.09 nM). The two cannabinoid receptor agonists, CP 55940 and WIN 55212-2, inhibited in a concentration-dependent manner cyclic AMP production induced by either 1 microM forskolin or isoproterenol with EC50 values in the nanomolar range (4.6 and 65 nM with forskolin and 1.0 and 5.1 nM with isoproterenol for CP 55940 and WIN 55212-2, respectively). Moreover, in striatal neurons and cerebellar granule cells, CP 55940 was also able to reduce the cyclic AMP accumulation induced by 1 microM forskolin with a potency similar to that observed in cortical neurons (EC50 values of 3.5 and 1.9 nM in striatum and cerebellum, respectively). SR 141716A antagonized the CP 55940- and WIN 55212-2-induced inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation, suggesting CB1 receptor-specific mediation of these effects on all primary cultures tested. Furthermore, CP 55940 was unable to induce mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in either cortical or striatal neurons. In conclusion, our results show nanomolar efficiencies for CP 55940 and WIN 55212-2 on adenylyl cyclase activity and no effect on any other signal transduction pathway investigated in primary neuronal cultures.

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