We have studied behavioural, biochemical and endocrine responses to the cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2 (WIN) in neonatal rats, as well as the effects of weaning on such responses. We used preweanling rats (20 days of age), 25-day-old weaned rats (weaning at Day 22) and 25-day-old nonweaned rats of both sexes. The behavioural effects of WIN were assessed in the nociceptive tail immersion test and in the open field. We also analysed the effect of weaning on corticosterone responses to WIN (radioimmunoassay) as well as on WIN-stimulated ( 35 S) GTPγS binding in periaqueductal grey (PAG) and striatum. The cannabinoid agonist induced a modest increase in pain thresholds, whereas the effect of the drug on open-field activity, particularly on vertical activity, was much more marked. The weaning process appeared to reduce the baseline nociceptive latencies of the female rats. No significant effect of weaning on the behavioural responses to WIN was found. However, the group of weaned females (but not males) showed a significantly reduced WIN-stimulated ( 35 S) GTPγS binding in the striatum. The cannabinoid agonist significantly increased the corticosterone levels of 25-day-old rats with the effect being more marked in weaned than in nonweaned animals. The results suggest that the weaning process might produce some sexually dimorphic developmental changes in CB 1 receptor function.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2004
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