Modulation of Delta(9)-THC-induced increase of cortical and hippocampal acetylcholine release by micro opioid and D(1) dopamine receptors

Neuropharmacology. 2006 May;50(6):661-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2005.11.023. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


The administration of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC) and synthetic cannabinoids stimulates acetylcholine (ACh) release in the rat prefrontal cortex (PFCx) and hippocampus as estimated by brain microdialysis. The present study was aimed at assessing whether the ability of Delta(9)-THC to stimulate ACh release is dependent upon opioid and dopamine (DA) receptors. Administration of the micro opioid receptor antagonists naloxone and naltrexone prevented the Delta(9)-THC-induced release of ACh in the PFCx and hippocampus. Similarly, bilateral infusion in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), 24h before Delta(9)-THC, of the pseudo-irreversible micro(1) antagonist naloxonazine completely prevented the increase of ACh release by Delta(9)-THC. Pre-treatment with the D(1) receptor antagonist SCH 39,166 reduced Delta(9)-THC-induced ACh release both in the PFCx and in the hippocampus. Since Delta(9)-THC has been shown to increase DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell via a micro(1)-opioid receptor mediated mechanism located in the VTA (Tanda, G., Pontieri, F.E., Di Chiara, G., 1997. Cannabinoid and heroin activation of mesolimbic dopamine transmission by a common micro(1) opioid receptor mechanism. Science 276, 2048-2050.), we hypothesize that Delta(9)-THC-induced stimulation of ACh release in the PFCx and hippocampus is related to stimulation of endogenous opioids release in the VTA with secondary activation of DA neurons projecting to the NAc shell.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microdialysis / methods
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Naltrexone / pharmacology
  • Narcotic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Benzazepines
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • ecopipam
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • Dronabinol
  • Acetylcholine