Rationale: A cannabinoid hypothesis of schi- zophrenia has been proposed according to which cognitive dysfunction could be associated with dysregulation of an endogenous cannabinoid system. Objective: The present study investigated whether SR 141716, a selective CB1 receptor antagonist, was able to reduce the hyperactivity induced in gerbils by various stimulant drugs known to produce or exacerbate schizophrenic symptoms. Methods: Cocaine, d-amphetamine, morphine, and Win 55212-2 were administered intraperitoneally (IP) either immediately before placing the animals in the test apparatus (non-habituated gerbils) or after a 2- to 3-h habituation period in the actimeter (habituated gerbils). SR 141716 was given IP 30 min before the injection of stimulant drugs. Horizontal activity was recorded every 10 min for 1 h in Digiscan activity monitor. Results: SR 141716 (0.3–3 mg/kg) dose-dependently suppressed the enhanced locomotor activity induced by each stimulant drug in habituated gerbils, but not in non-habituated animals. Clozapine, an atypical antipsychotic compound, but not haloperidol, shared with SR 141716, the ability to differentially affect drug-induced hyperactivity in habituated versus non-habituated gerbils. Conclusion: The activation of cannabinoid systems is a required, permissive element in the ability of cocaine, d-amphetamine, morphine, and Win 55212-2 to reinstate behaviour, i.e., to override stimulus satiation.
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