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The endogenous cannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol is intravenously self-administered by squirrel monkeys.
Two endogenous ligands for cannabinoid CB1 receptors, anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), have been identified and characterized. 2-AG is the most prevalent endogenous cannabinoid ligand in the brain, and electrophysiological studies suggest 2-AG, rather than anandamide, is the true natural ligand for cannabinoid receptors and the key endocannabinoid involved in retrograde signaling in the brain. Here, we evaluated intravenously administered 2-AG for reinforcing effects in nonhuman primates. Squirrel monkeys that previously self-administered anandamide or nicotine under a fixed-ratio schedule with a 60 s timeout after each injection had their self-administration behavior extinguished by vehicle substitution and were then given the opportunity to self-administer 2-AG. Intravenous 2-AG was a very effective reinforcer of drug-taking behavior, maintaining higher numbers of self-administered injections per session and higher rates of responding than vehicle across a wide range of doses. To assess involvement of CB1 receptors in the reinforcing effects of 2-AG, we pretreated monkeys with the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor inverse agonist/antagonist rimonabant [N-piperidino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methylpyrazole-3-carboxamide]. Rimonabant produced persistent blockade of 2-AG self-administration without affecting responding maintained by food under similar conditions. Thus, 2-AG was actively self-administered by monkeys with or without a history of cannabinoid self-administration, and the reinforcing effects of 2-AG were mediated by CB1 receptors. Self-administration of 2-AG by squirrel monkeys provides a valuable procedure for studying abuse liability of medications that interfere with 2-AG signaling within the brain and for investigating mechanisms involved in the reinforcing effects of endocannabinoids.
Preclinical Pharmacology Section, Behavioral Neuroscience Research Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA., ,
MeSHAnalysis of Variance
Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural