Background and purpose:
We have recently shown that the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (Δ9-THCV) and the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 increase inhibitory neurotransmission in mouse cerebellum and also exhibit anticonvulsant activity in a rat piriform cortical (PC) model of epilepsy. Possible mechanisms underlying cannabinoid actions in the CNS include CB1 receptor antagonism (by displacing endocannabinergic tone) or inverse agonism at constitutively active CB1 receptors. Here, we investigate the mode of cannabinoid action in [35S]GTPγS binding assays.
Effects of Δ9-THCV and AM251 were tested either alone or against WIN55,212-2-induced increases in [35S]GTPγS binding in mouse cerebellar and PC membranes. Effects on non-CB receptor expressing CHO-D2 cell membranes were also investigated.
Δ9-THCV and AM251 both acted as potent antagonists of WIN55,212-2-induced increases in [35S]GTPγS binding in cerebellar and PC membranes (Δ9-THCV: pA2=7.62 and 7.44 respectively; AM251: pA2=9.93 and 9.88 respectively). At micromolar concentrations, Δ9-THCV or AM251 alone caused significant decreases in [35S]GTPγS binding; Δ9-THCV caused larger decreases than AM251. When applied alone in CHO-D2 membranes, Δ9-THCV and AM251 also caused concentration-related decreases in G protein activity.
Conclusions and implications:
Δ9-THCV and AM251 act as CB1 receptors antagonists in the cerebellum and PC, with AM251 being more potent than Δ9-THCV in both brain regions. Individually, Δ9-THCV or AM251 exhibited similar potency at CB1 receptors in the cerebellum and the PC. At micromolar concentrations, Δ9-THCV and AM251 caused a non-CB receptor-mediated depression of basal [35S]GTPγS binding.
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