Dysregulation of the endogenous cannabinoid system in adult rats prenatally treated with the cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2.Eur J Pharmacol. 2007 Nov 14; 573(1-3):11-9.EJ
Cannabis is widely abused by women at reproductive age and during pregnancy. Animal studies showed a particular vulnerability of the developing brain to prenatal chronic cannabinoid administration. We determined whether prenatal exposure to WIN 55,212-2, a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist, affected (1) density, affinity and/or function of cannabinoid CB(1) receptors, (2) endogenous levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide, (3) activities of the major anandamide synthesising and hydrolysing enzymes, N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD) and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), respectively, in brain areas of adult male offspring rats. Furthermore, the effect of prenatal WIN 55,212-2 on spontaneous motility was analyzed. Pregnant rats were treated daily with WIN 55,212-2 (0.5 mg/kg, gestation day 5-20) or vehicle. [(3)H]CP 55,940 and WIN 55,212-2-stimulated [(35)S] GTPgammaS binding were carried out in cerebellum, cerebral cortex, hippocampus, striatum and limbic areas of male adult offspring. Levels of anandamide, FAAH and NAPE-PLD activity were also determined. EC(50) values for WIN 55,212-2-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding were significantly different in hippocampus (-26%) and striatum (+27%) in WIN 55,212-2-treated rats. Cannabinoid CB(1) receptor density and affinity were not affected in any analyzed region. In the striatum, increased anandamide levels were associated with reduced FAAH and enhanced NAPE-PLD activities. Opposite changes in anandamide levels and enzymatic activities were detected in limbic areas of WIN 55,212-2-treated rats. Ambulatory activity between WIN 55,212-2- and vehicle-treated adult offspring did not vary. Our results show that prenatal exposure to cannabinoid agonist induces a long-term alteration of endocannabinoid system in brain areas involved in learning-memory, motor activity and emotional behavior.