Acute activation of CB1 cannabinoid receptors transiently decreases PSA-NCAM expression in the dentate gyrus of the rat hippocampus

Brain Res. 2007 May 7;1148:43-52. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2007.02.014. Epub 2007 Feb 17.


Recent evidence indicates that the polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) is involved in hippocampal plasticity. On the other hand, CB1 receptor activation is known to disturb some hippocampal processes involving plastic changes, such as learning and memory. Therefore, the present study investigated the effect of HU-210, a CB1 receptor agonist, on the expression of PSA-NCAM protein in the dentate gyrus (DG) and CA3 region of the rat hippocampus. It was found that at a dose of 0.1 mg/kg i.p. of HU-210, the number of PSA-NCAM immunoreactive (IR) cells in the DG declined in a time-dependent manner. The decrease in PSA-NCAM expression was observed at 1 and 2 days (ca. 21% and 30%, respectively), but not after 4 h and 4 days following HU-210 administration. However, HU-210 treatment did not change the length density of PSA-NCAM immunopositive processes in CA3 mossy fibers at all the time points measured. The effect observed in the DG on day 2 was blocked by AM-251 (1 mg/kg, i.p.), a CB1 receptor antagonist, given 30 min before HU-210. Neither the number of Ki-67 (IR) cells (a marker of proliferation) nor the number of doublecortin-IR cells (a marker of immature neurons) was affected by HU-210 (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) treatment at any of the time points. An analysis of co-localization of CB1 receptor protein with PSA-NCAM protein revealed that both proteins were not present in the same population of neurons in the subgranular layer of the DG. The observed changes in PSA-NCAM expression were not related to the reduction of proliferation or differentiation of newly born cells, but were possible due to alternations in the synaptic activity in the DG. However, such alteration in the PSA-NCAM expression may change the timing of the functional maturation of newly born neurons. Moreover, the above finding suggests that acute activation of CB1 receptors may result in the stiffening of the hippocampal structure and susceptibility to plastic changes and may lead to functional impairment governed by alterations in the hippocampal structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / adverse effects
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dentate Gyrus / anatomy & histology
  • Dentate Gyrus / drug effects
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Doublecortin Domain Proteins
  • Doublecortin Protein
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Down-Regulation / physiology*
  • Dronabinol / analogs & derivatives
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / drug effects
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1 / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / drug effects
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / agonists
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism*
  • Sialic Acids / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Cannabinoids
  • Dcx protein, rat
  • Doublecortin Domain Proteins
  • Doublecortin Protein
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1
  • Neuropeptides
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Sialic Acids
  • polysialyl neural cell adhesion molecule
  • AM 251
  • Dronabinol
  • HU 211