Anandamide induces overeating: mediation by central cannabinoid (CB1) receptors


Rationale: Central cannabinoid systems have been implicated in appetite regulation by the respective hyperphagic actions of exogenous cannabinoids, such as Δ9-THC, and hypophagic effects of selective cannabinoid receptor antagonists. Objective: This study examined whether an endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide, could induce overeating, via a specific action at central (CB1) cannabinoid receptors. Methods: Pre-satiated male rats (n=18), received subcutaneous injections of anandamide (0.5, 1.0, 5.0, 10.0 mg/kg) before 3-h, nocturnal food intake tests. In a second series of intake tests (n=8), anandamide injection (1.0 mg/kg) was preceded by injection of the specific CB1 receptor antagonist, SR141716 (0.1, 0.5, 1.0 mg/kg SC). Results: All doses of anandamide induced significant overeating, with 1.0 mg/kg being most potent. Additionally, hyperphagia induced by 1.0 mg/kg anandamide was dose-dependently attenuated by SR141716 pretreatment. Conclusion: This first demonstration of anandamide-induced, CB1-mediated, overeating provides important evidence for the involvement of a central cannabinoid system in the normal control of eating.

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Received: 10 November 1998 / Final version: 13 January 1999

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Williams, C., Kirkham, T. Anandamide induces overeating: mediation by central cannabinoid (CB1) receptors. Psychopharmacology 143, 315–317 (1999).

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  • Key words SR141716
  • Hyperphagia
  • Rat
  • Pre-feed
  • Eating
  • Appetite