Increased hippocampal cannabinoid 1 receptor expression is associated with protection from severe seizures in pregnant mice with reduced uterine perfusion pressure

J Neurosci Res. 2023 Dec;101(12):1884-1899. doi: 10.1002/jnr.25244. Epub 2023 Sep 29.


Eclampsia, new-onset seizures in pregnancy, can complicate preeclampsia, a hypertensive pregnancy disorder. The mechanisms contributing to increased risk of seizures in preeclampsia are not fully known. One mechanism could be abnormal endocannabinoid system (ECS) activity and impaired neuromodulation. Indeed, increased placental cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) expression and reduced serum anandamide, a CB1R ligand, have been reported in preeclampsia patients. We hypothesized that reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP), used to mimic preeclampsia, leads to changes in hippocampal CB1R expression, and that manipulating CB1R activity will change seizure severity in RUPP mice. Pregnant mice underwent sham or RUPP surgery on gestational day (GD)13.5. On GD18.5, mice received: no drug treatment, pentylenetetrazol (PTZ, 40 mg/kg), Rimonabant (10 mg/kg) + PTZ, or 2-AG (1 mg/kg) + PTZ. Behaviors were video recorded (15 min for Rimonabant and 2-AG, followed by 30 min for PTZ), and the hippocampus was harvested. The expression of CB1R and ECS proteins was measured in hippocampal homogenates, synaptosomes, and cytosol. Hippocampal CB1R increased in homogenates and cytosolic fraction, and was unchanged in synaptosomes of RUPP mice. Increased CB1R colocalization on glutamate-releasing neurons within hippocampal CA1 was observed in RUPP mice. Rimonabant modestly increased seizure scores over time in RUPP mice. PTZ after rimonabant pretreatment increased seizure scores and duration, while reducing latency in sham mice, with little to no change in RUPP mice. Furthermore, RUPP mice had lower seizure scores over time than sham following CB1R blockade and activation. These data suggest that RUPP modifies CB1R activity prior to seizure induction, which protects mice from worse seizure outcomes.

Keywords: eclampsia; endocannabinoid system; pregnancy; seizure; synaptosomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cannabinoids*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension*
  • Ischemia
  • Mice
  • Perfusion
  • Placenta
  • Pre-Eclampsia*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Rimonabant / pharmacology
  • Seizures / chemically induced


  • Cannabinoids
  • Rimonabant
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid