Escola Paulista de Medicina
Postgraduate Program in Pharmacology

Role of the endocannabinoid and endovanilloid systems in an animal model of schizophrenia-related emotional processing/cognitive deficit

 Abilio

ALMEIDA, VALERIA ; LEVIN, RAQUEL; PERES, FERNANDA FIEL; SUIAMA, MAYRA AKIMI; VENDRAMINI, ANA MARIA; SANTOS, CAMILA MAURICIO; SILVA, NEIDE DERCI; ZUARDI, ANTONIO WALDO; HALLAK, JAIME EDUARDO CECILIO ; CRIPPA, JOSÉ; ALEXANDRE ; ABILIO, VANESSA COSTHEK

Abstract

Studies suggest that the endocannabinoid and endovanilloid systems are implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR) strain displays impaired contextual fear conditioning (CFC) attenuated by antipsychotic drugs and worsened by pro-psychotic manipulations. Therefore, SHR strain is used to study emotional processing/associative learning impairments associated with schizophrenia and effects of potential antipsychotic drugs. Here, we evaluated the expression of CB1 and TRPV1 receptors in some brain regions related to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. We also assessed the effects of drugs that act on the endocannabinoid/endovanilloid systems on the CFC task in SHRs and control animals (Wistar rats – WRs). The following drugs were used: AM404 (anandamide uptake/metabolism inhibitor), WIN55-212,2 (non-selective CB1 agonist), capsaicin (TRPV1 agonist), and capsazepine (TRPV1 antagonist). SHRs displayed increased CB1 expression in prelimbic cortex and cingulate cortex area 1 and in CA3 region of the dorsal hippocampus. Conversely, SHRs exhibited decreases in TRPV1 expression in prelimbic and CA1 region of dorsal hippocampus and increases in the basolateral amygdala. AM404, WIN 55,212-2 and capsaicin attenuated SHRs CFC deficit, although WIN 55,212-2 worsened SHRs CFC deficit in higher doses. WRs and SHRs CFC were modulated by distinct doses, suggesting that these strains display different responsiveness to cannabinoid and vanilloid drugs. Treatment with capsazepine did not modify CFC in either strains. The effects of AM404 on SHRs CFC deficit was not blocked by pretreatment with rimonabant (CB1 antagonist) or capsazepine. These results reinforce the involvement of the endocannabinoid/endovanilloid systems in the SHRs CFC deficit and point to these systems as targets to treat the emotional processing/cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.

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