Cannabidiol prevents disruptions in sensorimotor gating induced by psychotomimetic drugs that last for 24-h with probable involvement of epigenetic changes in the ventral striatum

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Dec 20;111:110352. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2021.110352. Epub 2021 May 17.


Cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychotomimetic component of the Cannabis sativa plant, shows therapeutic potential in several psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. The molecular mechanisms underlying the antipsychotic-like effects of CBD are not fully understood. Schizophrenia and antipsychotic treatment can modulate DNA methylation in the blood and brain, resulting in altered expression of diverse genes associated with this complex disorder. However, to date, the possible involvement of DNA methylation in the antipsychotic-like effects of CBD has not been investigated. Therefore, this study aimed at evaluating in mice submitted to the prepulse inhibition (PPI) model: i) the effects of a single injection of CBD or clozapine followed by AMPH or MK-801 on PPI and global DNA methylation changes in the ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex (PFC); and ii). if the acute antipsychotic-like effects of CBD would last for 24-h. AMPH (5 mg/kg) and MK-801 (0.5 mg/kg) impaired PPI. CBD (30 and 60 mg/kg), similar to clozapine (5 mg/kg), attenuated AMPH- and MK801-induced PPI disruption. AMPH, but not MK-801, increased global DNA methylation in the ventral striatum, an effect prevented by CBD. CBD and clozapine increased, by themselves, DNA methylation in the prefrontal cortex. The acute effects of CBD (30 or 60 mg/kg) on the PPI impairment induced by AMPH or MK-801 was also detectable 24 h later. Altogether, the results show that CBD induces acute antipsychotic-like effects that last for 24-h. It also modulates DNA methylation in the ventral striatum, suggesting a new potential mechanism for its antipsychotic-like effects.

Keywords: Amphetamine; Antipsychotic effect; Global DNA methylation; Prepulse inhibition; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology*
  • Clozapine / pharmacology*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / administration & dosage
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prepulse Inhibition / drug effects*
  • Reflex, Startle / drug effects
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sensory Gating / drug effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Ventral Striatum / drug effects*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Hallucinogens
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Cannabidiol
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Amphetamine
  • Clozapine