Background Recent studies have raised concerns about subtle long-lasting neurobiological changes that might be triggered by exposure to Cannabis derivatives, especially in a critical phase of brain maturation, such as puberty. The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system, involved in the processing of drug-induced reward, is a locus of action of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Thus, we compared the effects of repeated cannabinoid administration in adolescent and adult rats on DA neuronal functions and responses to drugs of abuse. Methods Single-unit extracellular recordings from antidromically identified mesoaccumbens DA neurons and from their target cells in the nucleus accumbens were carried out in urethane-anesthetized rats. Animals were pretreated during adolescence or adulthood, for 3 days, with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55212.2 (WIN) or vehicle and allowed a 2-week interval. Results In cannabinoid-administered rats, DA neurons were significantly less responsive to the stimulating action of WIN, regardless of the age of pretreatment; however, in the adolescent group, but not in the adult, long-lasting cross-tolerance developed to morphine, cocaine, and amphetamine. Conclusions Our study suggests that an enduring form of neuronal adaptation occurs in DA neurons after subchronic cannabinoid intake at a young age, affecting subsequent responses to drugs of abuse.

Adolescent exposure to cannabinoids induces long-lasting changes in the response to drugs of abuse of rat midbrain dopamine neurons

PISTIS, MARCO;PILLOLLA, GIULIANO;MELIS, MIRIAM;
2004-01-01

Abstract

Background Recent studies have raised concerns about subtle long-lasting neurobiological changes that might be triggered by exposure to Cannabis derivatives, especially in a critical phase of brain maturation, such as puberty. The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system, involved in the processing of drug-induced reward, is a locus of action of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Thus, we compared the effects of repeated cannabinoid administration in adolescent and adult rats on DA neuronal functions and responses to drugs of abuse. Methods Single-unit extracellular recordings from antidromically identified mesoaccumbens DA neurons and from their target cells in the nucleus accumbens were carried out in urethane-anesthetized rats. Animals were pretreated during adolescence or adulthood, for 3 days, with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55212.2 (WIN) or vehicle and allowed a 2-week interval. Results In cannabinoid-administered rats, DA neurons were significantly less responsive to the stimulating action of WIN, regardless of the age of pretreatment; however, in the adolescent group, but not in the adult, long-lasting cross-tolerance developed to morphine, cocaine, and amphetamine. Conclusions Our study suggests that an enduring form of neuronal adaptation occurs in DA neurons after subchronic cannabinoid intake at a young age, affecting subsequent responses to drugs of abuse.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/99590
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