, Volume 235, Issue 8, pp 2367–2376 | Cite as

The synthetic cannabinoid 5F-AMB changes the balance between excitation and inhibition of layer V pyramidal neurons in the mouse medial prefrontal cortex

  • Masaki Domoto
  • Hitoki Sasase
  • Shintaro Wada
  • Shiho Ito
  • Satoshi Deyama
  • Eiichi Hinoi
  • Shuji Kaneko
  • Katsuyuki KanedaEmail author
Original Investigation



5F-AMB is one of the synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) designed to potentiate the ability to activate cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors and is abused worldwide. Although inhalation of 5F-AMB elicits serious adverse effects including impaired memory and consciousness, it is not known whether and how 5F-AMB affects the activity of pyramidal neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a brain region associated with higher functions such as memory and cognition.


In the present study, we examined the effects of 5F-AMB on mPFC layer V (L5) pyramidal neurons using in vitro whole-cell patch-clamp recordings.


Bath application of 5F-AMB attenuated the frequency but not the amplitude of spontaneous excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs and sIPSCs). The attenuating effects of 5F-AMB were abolished by the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251. 5F-AMB also attenuated the frequency of miniature EPSCs and IPSCs recorded in the presence of tetrodotoxin. Moreover, the extent of attenuating effects of 5F-AMB on stimulus-evoked EPSCs was significantly larger than that on evoked IPSCs.


These findings suggest that 5F-AMB attenuates both excitatory and inhibitory transmission in mPFC L5 pyramidal neurons via the activation of CB1 receptors located in presynaptic terminals. Further, the net impact of 5F-AMB on L5 pyramidal neurons is inhibition due to the change in balance between excitation and inhibition. This inhibitory effect might at least partly contribute to the expression of the adverse effects induced by 5F-AMB inhalation.


5F-AMB Synthetic cannabinoids Designer drug Medial prefrontal cortex CB1 receptor Layer V pyramidal neurons 



This study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (K.K., 15K06765) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology of Japan (S.K., 15K15182), grant from Suzuken Memorial Foundation (K.K.), and the Kurata Grant awarded by the Hitachi Global Foundation (K.K.).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All experiments were conducted in accordance with the National Institutes of Health guidelines and performed with the approval of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Kanazawa University.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution at which the studies were conducted.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Institute of Medical, Pharmaceutical and Health SciencesKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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