Genetic dissection of behavioural and autonomic effects of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol in mice

PLoS Biology
Krisztina MonoryGiovanni Marsicano


Marijuana and its main psychotropic ingredient Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exert a plethora of psychoactive effects through the activation of the neuronal cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), which is expressed by different neuronal subpopulations in the central nervous system. The exact neuroanatomical substrates underlying each effect of THC are, however, not known. We tested locomotor, hypothermic, analgesic, and cataleptic effects of THC in conditional knockout mouse lines, which lack the expression of CB1 in different neuronal subpopulations, including principal brain neurons, GABAergic neurons (those that release gamma aminobutyric acid), cortical glutamatergic neurons, and neurons expressing the dopamine receptor D1, respectively. Surprisingly, mice lacking CB1 in GABAergic neurons responded to THC similarly as wild-type littermates did, whereas deletion of the receptor in all principal neurons abolished or strongly reduced the behavioural and autonomic responses to the drug. Moreover, locomotor and hypothermic effects of THC depend on cortical glutamatergic neurons, whereas the deletion of CB1 from the majority of striatal neurons and a subpopulation of cortical glutamatergic neurons blocked the cataleptic effect ...Continue Reading


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