Central cannabinoid signaling mediating food intake: A pharmacological-challenge magnetic resonance imaging and functional histology study in rat

G. T. Dodd, J. A. Stark, Shane McKie, S. R. Williams, Simon M Luckman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Endocannabinoids have a variety of effects by acting through cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors located throughout the brain. However, since CB1 receptors are located presynaptically, and because the strength of downstream coupling varies with brain region, expression studies alone do not provide a firm basis for interpreting sites of action. Likewise, to date most functional studies have used high doses of drugs, which can bias results toward non-relevant adverse effects, and which mask more behaviourally-relevant actions. Here we use a low, orexigenic dose of the full CB1 agonist, CP55940, to map responsive brain regions using the complementary techniques of pharmacological-challenge functional magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) and immediate-early gene activity. Areas of interest demonstrate a drug interaction when the CB1 receptor inverse agonist, rimonabant, is co-administered. This analysis highlights the corticostriatal- hypothalamic pathway, which is central to the motivational drive to eat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1192-1200
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Appetite
  • Hypothalamus
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Pharmacological-challenge MRI
  • Reward
  • SR141716A

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