Evidence for both inverse agonism at the cannabinoid CB1 receptor and the lack of an endogenous cannabinoid tone in the rat and guinea-pig isolated ileum myenteric plexus-longitudinal muscle preparation
Background and purpose: Cannabinoid receptor agonists reduce intestinal propulsion in rodents through the CB1 receptor. In addition to its antagonistic activity at this receptor, rimonabant (N-(piperidino)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-3-pyrazole-carboxyamide) alone augments intestinal transit. Using rat and guinea-pig ileum MPLM (myenteric plexus-longitudinal muscle) preparations, we investigated whether the latter effect was through inverse agonism or antagonism of endocannabinoid agonist(s). Experimental approach: Inverse agonism was investigated by comparing the maximal enhancement of electrically evoked contractions of the MPLM by two CB1 receptor antagonists, AM 251 (N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide) and O-2050 [(6aR,10aR)-3-(1-methanesulphonylamino-4-hexyn-6-yl)-6a,7,10,10a-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-6-H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran], with that produced by rimonabant. To reveal ongoing endocannabinoid activity, effects of inhibiting endocannabinoid hydrolysis by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) using AA-5HT (arachidonyl-5-hydroxytryptamine), PMSF (phenylmethylsulphonyl fluoride) or URB-597 (3'-carbamoyl-biphenyl-3-yl-cyclohexylcarbamate), or putative uptake using VDM-11 [(5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z)-N-(4-hydroxy-2-methylphenyl)-5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenamide] was evaluated. Key results: The presence of CB1 receptors was revealed by antagonism of exogenous anandamide, arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) and WIN 55,212-2 [(R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl)-pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl]-1-naphthalenylmethanone mesylate] by rimonabant. The rank order of potentiation of contractions was AM 251 > rimonabant > O-2050. Neither the FAAH inhibitors nor VDM-11 affected electrically evoked contractions. Each FAAH inhibitor increased the potency of AEA but not WIN 55,212-2. VDM-11 did not alter the inhibitory effect of AEA. Conclusions and implications: The different levels of maximal potentiation of contractions by the CB1 receptor antagonists suggest inverse agonism. The potentiation of the action of AEA by the FAAH inhibitors showed that FAAH was present. The lack of effect of FAAH inhibitors and VDM-11 alone on electrically evoked contractions, and on the potency of exogenous AEA suggests that pharmacologically active endocannabinoids were not released and the endocannabinoid transporter was absent. Thus, the CB1 receptor antagonists behave as inverse agonists.
Published inBritish Journal of Pharmacology
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