Interaction between brain endocannabinoid (EC) and serotonin (5-HT) systems was investigated by examining 5-HT-dependent behavioral and biochemical responses in CB(1) receptor knockout mice. CB(1) knockout animals exhibited a significant reduction in the induction of head twitches and paw tremor by the 5-HT(2A/C) receptor selective agonist (+/-) DOI, as well as a reduced hypothermic response following administration of the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist (+/-)-8-OH-DPAT. Additionally, exposure to the tail suspension test induced enhanced despair responses in CB(1) knockout mice. However, the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine and the 5-HT selective reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine induced similar decreases in the time of immobility in the tail suspension test in CB(1) receptor knockout and wild-type mice. No differences were found between both genotypes with regard to 5-HT(2A) receptor and 5-HT(1A) receptors levels, measured by autoradiography in different brain areas. However, a significant decrease in the ability of both, the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist (+/-)-8-OH-DPAT and the 5-HT(2A/C) receptor agonist (-)DOI, to stimulate [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding was detected in the hippocampal CA(1) area and fronto-parietal cortex of CB(1) receptor knockout mice, respectively. This study provides evidence that CB(1) receptors are involved in the regulation of serotonergic responses mediated by 5-HT(2A/C) and 5-HT(1A) receptors, and suggests that a reduced coupling of 5-HT(1A) and 5-HT(2A) receptors to G proteins might be involved in these effects.
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