The cannabis constituent cannabidiol (CBD) possesses anxiolytic and antipsychotic properties. We have previously shown that transmembrane domain neuregulin 1 mutant (Nrg1 TM HET) mice display altered neurobehavioural responses to the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Here we investigated whether Nrg1 TM HET mice respond differently to CBD and whether CBD reverses schizophrenia-related phenotypes expressed by these mice. Adult male Nrg1 TM HET and wild type-like littermates (WT) received vehicle or CBD (1, 50 or 100 mg/kg i.p.) for 21 days. During treatment and 48 h after withdrawal we measured behaviour, whole blood CBD concentrations and autoradiographic receptor binding. Nrg1 HET mice displayed locomotor hyperactivity, PPI deficits and reduced 5-HT2A receptor binding density in the substantia nigra, but these phenotypes were not reversed by CBD. However, long-term CBD (50 and 100 mg/kg) selectively enhanced social interaction in Nrg1 TM HET mice. Furthermore, acute CBD (100 mg/kg) selectively increased PPI in Nrg1 TM HET mice, although tolerance to this effect was manifest upon repeated CBD administration. Long-term CBD (50 mg/kg) also selectively increased GABAA receptor binding in the granular retrosplenial cortex in Nrg1 TM HET mice and reduced 5-HT2A binding in the substantia nigra in WT mice. Nrg1 appears necessary for CBD-induced anxiolysis since only WT mice developed decreased anxiety-related behaviour with repeated CBD treatment. Altered pharmacokinetics in mutant mice could not explain our findings since no genotype differences existed in CBD blood concentrations. Here we demonstrate that Nrg1 modulates acute and long-term neurobehavioural effects of CBD, which does not reverse the schizophrenia-relevant phenotypes.
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