The aim of this study was to compare the effects of the genetic and pharmacological disruption of CB1 cannabinoid receptors on the elevated plus‐maze test of anxiety. In the first experiment, the behaviour of CB1‐knockout mice and wild‐type mice was compared. In the second experiment, the cannabinoid antagonist SR141716A (0, 1, and 3 mg/kg) was administered to both CB1‐knockout and wild type mice. Untreated CB1‐knockout mice showed a reduced exploration of the open arms of the plus‐maze apparatus, thus appearing more anxious than the wild‐type animals, however no changes in locomotion were noticed. The vehicle‐injected CB1‐knockout mice from the second experiment also showed increased anxiety as compared with wild types. Surprisingly, the cannabinoid antagonist SR141716A reduced anxiety in both wild type and CB1 knockout mice. Locomotor behaviour was only marginally affected. Recent evidence suggests the existence of a novel cannabinoid receptor in the brain. It has also been shown that SR141716A binds to both the CB1 and the putative novel receptor. The data presented here supports these findings, as the cannabinoid receptor antagonist affected anxiety in both wild type and CB1‐knockout mice. Tentatively, it may be suggested that the discrepancy between the effects of the genetic and pharmacological blockade of the CB1 receptor suggests that the novel receptor plays a role in anxiety.
European Journal of Neuroscience – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 2002
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