, Volume 124, Issue 4, pp 315-322

Effects of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A on the behavior of pigeons and rats

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SR141716A (Sanofi Recherche), a pyrazole derivative with high affinity for rat and human CB1 cannabinoid receptors, has recently been reported to reverse biochemical, physiological and behavioral effects induced by cannabinoid agonists. The present experiments characterized the activity of SR141716A (SR) in behavioral procedures designed to assess its antagonistic and intrinsic effects on unconditioned behavior and on complex learned behaviors. Six adult male pigeons were trained to discriminate injections of 0.56 mg/kg Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) from vehicle under a two-key, fixed-ratio schedule of food reinforcement. SR (IM) produced a nearly complete blockade of THC-appropriate responding occasioned by the training dose without inducing significant changes in session response rates, but also produced partial substitution for Δ9-THC when administered alone. In another group of pigeons trained under a multiple schedule of signaled and unsignaled fixed consecutive number (FCN) responding, SR had little effect on accuracy, but Δ9-THC produced dose-related decreases in accuracy under both schedule components. SR was also evaluated in acoustic startle procedures in rats. SR produced little effect either on startle amplitude or prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle. In contrast, the potent cannabinomimetic CP-55, 940 produced large decreases in startle responses elicited by 120 dB [A] broad-band noise. These decreases were completely reversed by SR (10 mg/kg, IP). In concurrent measures, SR blocked the hypothermic effect CP-55,940. These results suggest that SR is an effective antagonist of the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids.