The cannabinoid anticonvulsant effect on pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure is potentiated by ultra-low dose naltrexone in mice

Epilepsy Res. 2008 Sep;81(1):44-51. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 May 27.


Cannabinoid compounds are anticonvulsant since they have inhibitory effects at micromolar doses, which are mediated by activated receptors coupling to G(i/o) proteins. Surprisingly, both the analgesic and anticonvulsant effects of opioids are enhanced by ultra-low doses (nanomolar to picomolar) of the opioid antagonist naltrexone and as opioid and cannabinoid systems interact, it has been shown that ultra-low dose naltrexone also enhances cannabinoid-induced antinociception. Thus, concerning the seizure modulating properties of both classes of receptors this study investigated whether the ultra-low dose opioid antagonist naltrexone influences cannabinoid anticonvulsant effects. The clonic seizure threshold was tested in separate groups of male NMRI mice following injection of vehicle, the cannabinoid selective agonist arachidonyl-2-chloroethylamide (ACEA) and ultra-low doses of the opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone and a combination of ACEA and naltrexone doses in a model of clonic seizure induced by pentylenetetrazole (PTZ). Systemic injection of ultra-low doses of naltrexone (1pg/kg to 1ng/kg, i.p.) significantly potentiated the anticonvulsant effect of ACEA (1mg/kg, i.p.). Moreover, the very low dose of naltrexone (500pg/kg) unmasked a strong anticonvulsant effect for very low doses of ACEA (10 and 100microg/kg). A similar potentiation by naltrexone (500pg/kg) of anticonvulsant effects of non-effective dose of ACEA (1mg/kg) was also observed in the generalized tonic-clonic model of seizure. The present data indicate that the interaction between opioid and cannabinoid systems extends to ultra-low dose levels and ultra-low doses of opioid receptor antagonist in conjunction with very low doses of cannabinoids may provide a potent strategy to modulate seizure susceptibility.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants*
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists*
  • Cannabinoids / agonists*
  • Convulsants
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / chemically induced
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / prevention & control
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / chemically induced
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / drug therapy
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Naltrexone / pharmacology*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Pentylenetetrazole
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / drug therapy*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Cannabinoids
  • Convulsants
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • arachidonyl-2-chloroethylamide
  • AM 251
  • Naltrexone
  • Pentylenetetrazole