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Activation of CB1 receptors may provide an effective treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder

Institution: College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio

Published onJan 31, 2014
Activation of CB1 receptors may provide an effective treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder

Abstract: Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by mental obsessions and compulsions stemming from chemical imbalances in the brain. Drugs that facilitate serotonin transmission are commonly used to treat OCD, but they can become ineffective with prolonged use. It has been suggested that CB1 (cannabinoid type 1) receptors are an alternative drug target that could provide effective treatment. The aims of this study were to investigate more successful longer-term drug treatment options for anxiety-based symptoms of OCD and to better understand serotonin’s interaction with CB1. This study used an 11-day marble burying behavioral model with three groups of mice treated respectively with saline, WIN 55,212-2 (CB1 agonist), or Tianeptine (5-HT antagonist; Tianeptine and WIN 55,212-2 days 6-10). Mice receiving the CB1 agonist buried fewer marbles than did the control with no deterioration of effect over ten days. Mice receiving both Tianeptine and WIN 55,212-2 also buried fewer marbles. These results indicate that WIN 55,212-2 has anxiolytic properties that could be an effective treatment for the compulsive symptoms of OCD. It also suggests that CB1 receptors are situated downstream of serotonin receptors.

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