NYMC Faculty Publications


The Effects of Enhancing Endocannabinoid Signaling and Blocking Corticotrophin Releasing Factor Receptor in the Amygdala and Hippocampus on the Consolidation of a Stressful Event

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Current clinical and pre-clinical data suggest that both cannabinoid agents and blockage of CRF through corticotrophin releasing factor receptor type 1 (CRFr1) may offer therapeutic benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here we aim to determine whether they are more effective when combined when microinjected into the basolateral amygdala (BLA) or CA1 area of the hippocampus after exposure to a stressful event in the shock/reminders rat model for PTSD. Injection of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597 after the shock into either the BLA or CA1 facilitated extinction, and attenuated startle response and anxiety-like behavior. These preventive effects of URB597 were found to be mediated by the CB1 receptor. Intra-BLA and intra-CA1 microinjection of the CRFr1 antagonist, CP-154,526 attenuated startle response. When microinjected into the BLA, CP-154,526 also attenuated freezing behavior during exposure to the first reminder and decreased anxiety-like behavior. The combined treatment of URB597 and CP-154,526 was not more effective than the separate treatments. Finally, mRNA levels of CRF, CRFr1 and CB1r were significantly higher in the BLA of rats exposed to shock and reminders compared to non-shocked rats almost one month after the shock. Taken together, the results show that enhancing endocannabinoid signaling in the amygdala and hippocampus produced a more favorable spectrum of effects than those caused by the CRFr1 antagonist. The findings suggest that FAAH inhibitors may be used as a novel treatment for stress-related anxiety disorders.