Role of CB2 receptors in social and aggressive behavior in male mice
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Male CB1KO mice exhibit stronger aggressive responses than wild-type mice.
This study was designed to examine the role of cannabinoid CB2r in social and aggressive behavior.
The social interaction test and resident–intruder paradigm were performed in mice lacking CB2r (CB2KO) and in wild-type (WT) littermates. The effects of the CB2r selective agonist JWH133 (1 and 2 mg/kg) on aggression were also evaluated in Oncins France 1 (OF1) mice. Gene expression analyses of monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A), catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT), 5-hydroxytryptamine transporter (5-HTT), and 5-HT1B receptor (5HT1Br) in the dorsal raphe nuclei (DR) and the amygdala (AMY) were carried out using real-time PCR.
Group-housed CB2KO mice exhibited higher levels of aggression in the social interaction test and displayed more aggression than resident WT mice. Isolation increased aggressive behavior in WT mice but did not affect CB2KO animals; however, the latter mice exhibited higher levels of social interaction with their WT counterparts. MAO-A and 5-HTT gene expression was significantly higher in grouped CB2KO mice. The expression of 5HT1Br, COMT, and MAO-A in the AMY was more pronounced in CB2KO mice than in WT counterparts. Acute administration of the CB2 agonist JWH133 significantly reduced the level of aggression in aggressive isolated OF1 mice, an effect that decreased after pretreatment with the CB2 receptor antagonist AM630.
Our results suggest that CB2r is implicated in social interaction and aggressive behavior and deserves further consideration as a potential new target for the management of aggression.
KeywordsCB2KO mice Social encounters Resident–intruder paradigm Aggression OF1 mice JWH133 Gene expression
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