Cannabinoids have been shown to possess anticonvulsant properties in whole animal models of epilepsy. The present investigation sought to examine the effects of cannabinoid receptor activation on kainic acid (KA)-induced epileptiform neuronal excitability. Under urethane anesthesia, acute KA treatment (10 mg kg(-1), i.p.) entrained the spiking mode of simultaneously recorded neurons from random firing to synchronous bursting (% change in burst rate). Injection of the high-affinity cannabinoid agonist (-)-11-hydroxy-8-tetrahydrocannabinol-dimethyl-heptyl (HU210, 100 mug kg(-1), i.p.) following KA markedly reduced the burst frequency (% decrease in burst frequency) and reversed synchronized firing patterns back to baseline levels. Pre-treatment with the central cannabinoid receptor (CB1) antagonist N-piperidino-5-(4-clorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-3-pyrazole-carboxamide (rimonabant, SR141716A 3 mg kg(-1), i.p.) completely prevented the actions of HU210. The present results indicate that cannabinoids exert their antiepileptic effects by impeding pathological synchronization of neuronal networks in the hippocampus.
Keywords: CB1 receptor; GABA; multiple single-neuron recording; urethane.