The morphological remodeling of neuronal cells influences neurogenesis and brain functions. We hypothesize that psychoactive and neurotoxic effects of cannabinoids may be mediated, at least in part, by their morphoregulatory activities. In the present study, mouse neuroblastoma N1E-115 cells were used as an in vitro model to investigate cannabinoid-induced neurite remodeling effects and to identify the involvement of cannabinoid receptors in this neurite remodeling process. Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence microscopy, the endogenously expressed CB1, but not CB2, cannabinoid receptors were detected in morphologically differentiated N1E-115 cells. Activation of these natively expressed CB1 cannabinoid receptors by cannabinoid agonist HU-210 led to a concentration-dependent inhibition of adenylate cyclase activity. Importantly, HU-210 treatment induced neurite retraction in a concentration-dependent manner. Pretreatment of N1E-115 cells with a CB1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) suppressed HU-210-induced inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation, indicating that the knocking down of functional CB1 cannabinoid receptor expression was achieved. Antisense ODN pretreatment also abolished HU-210-induced neurite retraction, demonstrating the involvement of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in mediating the neurite remodeling effects of HU-210. In addition, reversing HU-210-induced intracellular cAMP declination by 8-Br-cAMP partially prevented HU-210-induced neurite retraction, indicating the involvement of cAMP-dependent signaling pathways in mediating the neurite remodeling function of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in N1E-115 cells. These data demonstrate that neurite remodeling is a newly discovered function of CB1 cannabinoid receptors. This morphoregulatory function of CB1 cannabinoid receptors might be a new mechanism that mediates the psychoactive and neurotoxic effects of cannabinoids in developing and adult brain.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.