Cannabinoid 1 receptor blockade in the dorsal hippocampus prevents the reinstatement but not acquisition of morphine-induced conditioned place preference in rats

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The cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1Rs) signaling is strongly linked to conditioned rewarding effects of opiates. Learned associations between environmental contexts and discrete cues and drug use play an important role in the maintenance and/or relapse of morphine addiction. Although previous studies suggest that context-dependent morphine treatment alters endocannabinoid signaling and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, the role of endocannabinoid in morphine conditioned place preference (CPP) and reinstatement remains unknown. In the present study, we found daily escalating doses of morphine induce significant CPP in rats. After the extinction of CPP, a priming dose of morphine was sufficient to reinstate morphine CPP and was associated with the elevated CB1R levels compared with saline control groups, suggesting upregulation of CB1R pathway in the hippocampus contribute to the reinstatement of morphine CPP. By using a pharmacological inhibitor of CB1R administered into the dorsal hippocampus, we showed that blockade of CB1R signaling did not alter the morphine CPP acquisition but inhibited the reinstatement of morphine CPP. In addition, no effects were induced upon CB1R blockade in the prefrontal cortex on reinstatement of morphine CPP. These studies reveal region-specific effects of hippocampal blockade of CB1R signaling pathway on the reinstatement of morphine CPP.

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