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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 20, 2014

Canadian Excellence


Paul Mallet

Evidence for an interaction between CB1 cannabinoid and oxytocin receptors in food and water intake

Neuropharmacology, 47, 593-603.
Verty, A.N.A., McFarlane, J.R., McGregor, I.S. & Mallet, P.E.

published: 2004 | Research publication | Journal article

Abstract:Oxytocin and CB(1) cannabinoid receptors independently modulate food intake. Although an interaction between oxytocin and cannabinoid systems has been demonstrated with respect to the cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome, the interaction between these systems in modulating food intake has not yet been examined. The present study had three primary purposes: (1) to determine whether oxytocin and a CB(1) receptor antagonist block food and fluid intake in a supra-additive manner, (2) to determine the relative position of the CB(1) receptors in the chain of control of food intake in relation to the oxytocin system, and (3) to determine whether the increase in fluid intake induced by an oxytocin antagonist is mediated via cannabinoid receptors. Rats were habituated to the test environment and injection procedure, and then received intracerebroventricular (ICV) injections of various combinations of the oxytocin receptor antagonist tocinoic acid, the cannabionid receptor agonist delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), oxytocin, or the cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR 141716. Food and water intake and locomotor activity were then measured for 120 min. When administrated alone, SR 141716 and oxytocin dose-dependently attenuated baseline food intake, while oxytocin but not SR 141716 reduced water intake. Sub-anorectic doses of SR 141716 and oxytocin attenuated baseline feeding beyond what would be expected by the sum of the individual drug effects without affecting baseline water intake. THC stimulated feeding but not water intake. THC-induced feeding was not blocked by oxytocin, however, the oxytocin did attenuate water intake during such feeding. SR 141716 dose-dependently reduced tocinoic-acid-stimulated food intake and partially attenuated water intake. Locomotor activity was not significantly affected by any drug treatments, suggesting that effects on feeding were not due to a non-specific reduction in motivated behaviour. These findings reveal an interaction between cannabinoid and oxytocin systems in food intake. Results further reveal that the oxytocin system effects on water intake are partially mediated via CB(1) receptors, CB(1) receptors are located downstream from oxytocin receptors, and CB(1) receptor signalling is necessary to prevent oxytocin from altering food intake.

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revised Jan 20/06

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