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Astrocytic Mechanisms Involving Kynurenic Acid Control ?9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-Induced Increases in Glutamate Release in Brain Reward-Processing Areas.

ABSTRACT: The reinforcing effects of ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in rats and monkeys, and the reinforcement-related dopamine-releasing effects of THC in rats, can be attenuated by increasing endogenous levels of kynurenic acid (KYNA) through systemic administration of the kynurenine 3-monooxygenase inhibitor, Ro 61-8048. KYNA is a negative allosteric modulator of ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (?7nAChRs) and is synthesized and released by astroglia, which express functional ?7nAChRs and cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs). Here, we tested whether these presumed KYNA autoreceptors (?7nAChRs) and CB1Rs regulate glutamate release. We used in vivo microdialysis and electrophysiology in rats, RNAscope in situ hybridization in brain slices, and primary culture of rat cortical astrocytes. Acute systemic administration of THC increased extracellular levels of glutamate in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAcS), ventral tegmental area (VTA), and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). THC also reduced extracellular levels of KYNA in the NAcS. These THC effects were prevented by administration of Ro 61-8048 or the CB1R antagonist, rimonabant. THC increased the firing activity of glutamatergic pyramidal neurons projecting from the mPFC to the NAcS or to the VTA in vivo. These effects were averted by pretreatment with Ro 61-8048. In vitro, THC elicited glutamate release from cortical astrocytes (on which we demonstrated co-localization of the CB1Rs and ?7nAChR mRNAs), and this effect was prevented by KYNA and rimonabant. These results suggest a key role of astrocytes in interactions between the endocannabinoid system, kynurenine pathway, and glutamatergic neurotransmission, with ramifications for the pathophysiology and treatment of psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6393222 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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