A critical interaction between dopamine D2 receptors and endocannabinoids mediates the effects of cocaine on striatal GABAergic transmission

Diego Centonze, Natalia Battista, Silvia Rossi, Nicola B. Mercuri, Alessandro Finazzi-Agrò, Giorgio Bernardi, Paolo Calabresi, Mauro Maccarrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Compelling evidence indicates that endocannabinoids are implicated in drug addiction. In the present study, we have addressed the interaction between cocaine and endocannabinoid system by means of neurochemical and neurophysiological experiments in rat brain slices. Using gas chromatography-electron impact mass spectrometry, we have found that cocaine increased the levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide in the striatum, a brain area primarily involved in the compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviors typical of addiction. This effect was attenuated by pharmacological inhibition of D2-like receptors but not D1-like receptors, and it was mimicked by D2-like but not D1-like receptor stimulation. The cocaine-induced increase in anandamide concentrations was attributable to both stimulation of its synthesis and inhibition of its degradation, as suggested by the ability of cocaine and quinpirole, a D2-like receptor agonist, to enhance the activity of NAPE-phospholipase D and to inhibit fatty acid amide hydrolase. By means of electrophysiological recordings from single striatal neurons, we have then observed that the ability of cocaine to inhibit, via D2-like receptors, GABA transmission was partially prevented following blockade of cannabinoid receptors, suggesting that endocannabinoids may act as downstream effectors in the action of cocaine in the striatum. Understanding the molecular and physiological effects of drugs of abuse in the brain is essential for the development of effective strategies against addiction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1488-1497
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume29
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Anandamide
  • CBI receptors
  • GABA transmission
  • IPSC
  • Psychostimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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