Endogenous opioids and cannabinoids: system interactions in the regulation of appetite, grooming and scratching.Physiol Behav. 2008 Jun 09; 94(3):422-31.PB
Growing evidence suggests substantial crosstalk between endogenous opioid and cannabinoid systems in the regulation of appetite. Not only is cannabinoid-induced hyperphagia abolished by opioid receptor antagonists (and vice versa), but several laboratories have reported supra-additive anorectic responses following co-administration of opioid and CB1 receptor antagonists. In the present study, videoanalysis has been used to characterise the acute effects of sub-anorectic doses of rimonabant (0.25, 0.75 mg/kg) and naloxone (0.1 mg/kg), alone and in combination, on mash intake, ingestive and non-ingestive behaviour, and post-treatment weight gain in male rats. The results confirmed that, when administered alone, none of these treatments significantly altered mash consumption, various measures of feeding behaviour, or weight gain. Although most non-ingestive behaviours were also unaffected, 0.75 mg/kg rimonabant induced compulsive scratching and grooming. However, when naloxone was given in combination with either dose of rimonabant, both food intake and time spent feeding were significantly decreased while the behavioural satiety sequence (BSS) was accelerated. On further analysis, the co-treatment reductions in food intake and feeding behaviour were found to be of an additive rather than supra-additive nature. Intriguingly, the co-administration of naloxone also virtually abolished the compulsive scratching response to the higher dose of rimonabant. Findings are discussed in relation to current views on the molecular bases of opioid-cannabinoid system interactions and the unexpected 'dual' advantage (reduction in appetite plus attenuation of side-effect) of low-dose combinations of opioid and cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonists.