Extinction learning of rewards in the rat: is there a role for CB1 receptors?

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 20 Penn Street, Baltimore, MD 2120, USA.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.99). 04/2011; 217(2):189-97. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-011-2275-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Endocannabinoids have been widely studied in the context of addiction and reward due to their role in reinstatement. However, little is known about the role of CB1 receptors during extinction learning of an appetitively motivated task.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of endocannabinoids at different stages of extinction learning.
Endocannabinoid signaling was disrupted by injecting the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant (0, 200, 300 μg/kg i.v.) during the acquisition or consolidation phases of learning. The rate of extinction and its half-life were analyzed, as well as food-seeking in a reward-induced reinstatement test. We further investigated the interaction between extinction and endocannabinoids in different groups of rats that received drug treatments but did not undergo extinction training (abstinence). In addition, the effects of rimonabant on cue retrieval were investigated in a cue-induced reinstatement test in which rimonabant (0, 300 μg/kg i.v.) was given immediately prior to the reinstatement session.
Blockade of CB1 receptors during acquisition or consolidation of extinction learning had no effect on the rate extinction or its half-life and these pretreatments had no long term consequences on reward-seeking behavior. Furthermore, rats that underwent extinction training responded at lower levels than those that received the drug in the absence of extinction (p = 0.000, η (2) = 0.40). Rimonabant was effective in inhibiting behavior only if it was immediately given before a cue-induced reinstatement session (p = 0.000, η (2) = 0.92).
The present results clarify and isolate the role of endocannabinoids in reinstatement as key mediators of cue retrieval, rather than orchestrators of extinction learning processes.

1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reconsolidation is the process whereby consolidated memories are destabilized upon retrieval and restabilized to persist for later use. Although the neurobiology of the reconsolidation of both appetitive and aversive memories has been intensively investigated, reconsolidation of memories of physiologically relevant social rewards has received little attention. Social play, the most characteristic social behaviour displayed by young mammals, is highly rewarding, illustrated by the fact that it can induce conditioned place preference (CPP). Here, we investigated the role of signalling mechanisms implicated in memory processes, including reconsolidation, namely glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid, NMDA glutamatergic and CB1 cannabinoid receptors, in the reconsolidation of social play-induced CPP in rats. Systemic treatment with the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone before, but not immediately after, retrieval disrupted the reconsolidation of social play-induced CPP. Mifepristone did not affect social play-induced CPP in the absence of memory retrieval. Treatment with the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 modestly affected the reconsolidation of social play-induced CPP. However, the reconsolidation of social play-induced CPP was not affected by treatment with the mineralocorticoid and CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonists spironolactone and rimonabant, respectively. We conclude that glucocorticoid neurotransmission mediates the reconsolidation of social reward-related memories in rats. These data indicate that the neural mechanisms of the reconsolidation of social reward-related memories only partially overlap with those underlying the reconsolidation of other reward-related memories.
    Behavioural pharmacology 06/2014; 25(3):216-25. DOI:10.1097/FBP.0000000000000039 · 2.19 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Endocannabinoids serve as retrograde signaling molecules at many synapses within the CNS, particularly GABAergic and glutamatergic synapses. Synapses onto midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) make no exception to this rule. In fact, the effects of cannabinoids on dopamine transmission as well as DA-related behaviors are generally exerted through the modulation of inhibitory and excitatory afferents impinging onto DA neurons. Endocannabinoids, by regulating different forms of synaptic plasticity in the VTA, provide a critical modulation of the DA neuron output and, ultimately, of the systems driving and regulating motivated behaviors. Because DA cells exhibit diverse states of activity, which crucially depend on their intrinsic properties and afferent drive, the understanding of the role played by endocannabinoids in synaptic modulations is critical for their overall functions. Particularly, endocannabinoids by selectively inhibiting afferent activity may alter the functional states of DA neurons and potentiate the responsiveness of the reward system to phasic DA.
    Frontiers in Pharmacology 02/2012; 3:7. DOI:10.3389/fphar.2012.00007
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although there are controversial issues (the "American view" and the "European view") regarding the construct and definition of agoraphobia (AG), this syndrome is well recognized and it is a burden in the lives of millions of people worldwide. To better clarify the role of drug therapy in AG, the authors summarized and discussed recent evidence on pharmacological treatments, based on clinical trials available from 2000, with the aim of highlighting pharmacotherapies that may improve this complex syndrome. A systematic review of the literature regarding the pharmacological treatment of AG was carried out using MEDLINE, EBSCO, and Cochrane databases, with keywords individuated by MeSH research. Only randomized, placebo-controlled studies or comparative clinical trials were included. After selection, 25 studies were included. All the selected studies included patients with AG associated with panic disorder. Effective compounds included selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, selective noradrenergic reuptake inhibitors, and benzodiazepines. Paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram, escitalopram, and clomipramine showed the most consistent results, while fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, and imipramine showed limited efficacy. Preliminary results suggested the potential efficacy of inositol; D-cycloserine showed mixed results for its ability to improve the outcome of exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy. More studies with the latter compounds are needed before drawing definitive conclusions. No studies have been specifically oriented toward evaluating the effect of drugs on AG; in the available studies, the improvement of AG might have been the consequence of the reduction of panic attacks. Before developing a "true" psychopharmacology of AG it is crucial to clarify its definition. There may be several potential mechanisms involved, including fear-learning processes, balance system dysfunction, high light sensitivity, and impaired visuospatial abilities, but further studies are warranted.
    Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 10/2011; 7:621-37. DOI:10.2147/NDT.S12979 · 2.15 Impact Factor


1 Download
Available from