Previous investigations demonstrated that tramadol, as a painkiller, similar to morphine induces tolerance and dependence. Furthermore, the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) located in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays a critical role in morphine-induced conditioning. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to evaluate the role of NAc CB1R in tramadol induced conditioning and reinstatement.
In the present experiment, the effect of NAc CB1 receptors on tramadol induced conditioning was tested by microinjecting of arachidonylcyclopropylamide (ACPA, CB1R agonist) and AM 251 (CB1R inverse agonist) in the NAc during tramadol-induced conditioning in the adult male Wistar rats. In addition, the role of NAc CB1R in the reinstatement was also evaluated by injecting ACPA and AM 251 after a 10-days extinction period.
The obtained data revealed that the administration of tramadol (1,2, and 4 mg/kg, ip) dose-dependently produced conditioned place preference (CPP). Moreover, intra-NAc administration of ACPA (0.25, 0.5, and 1 μg/rat) dose-dependently induced conditioning, while the administration of AM-251 (30, 60, and 120 ng/rat) induced a significant aversion. In addition, the administration of a non-effective dose of AM251 during tramadol conditioning inhibited conditioning induced by tramadol. On the other hand, the administration of ACPA after extinction induced a significant reinstatement. Notably, the locomotor activity did not change among groups.
Previous studies have shown that tramadol-induced CPP occurs through μ-opioid receptors. The data obtained in the current study indicated that CB1R located in the NAc is involved in mediating conditioning induced by tramadol. Besides, CB1R also plays a vital role in the reinstatement of tramadol-conditioned animals. It might be due to the effect of opioids on enhancing the level of CB1R.