Neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia are associated with cognitive impairment, including learning, memory and attention deficits. Antipsychotic drugs are limited in their efficacy to improve cognition; therefore, new therapeutic agents are required. Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating component of cannabis, has anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antipsychotic-like properties; however, its ability to improve the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia remains unclear. Using a prenatal infection model, we examined the effect of chronic CBD treatment on cognition and social interaction. Time-mated pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats (n=16) were administered polyinosinic-polycytidilic acid (poly I:C) (POLY; 4 mg/kg) or saline (CONT) at gestation day 15. Male offspring (PN56) were injected twice daily with 10 mg/kg CBD (CONT+CBD, POLY+CBD; n=12 per group) or vehicle (VEH; CONT+VEH, POLY+VEH; n=12 per group) for 3 weeks. Body weight, food and water intake was measured weekly. The Novel Object Recognition and rewarded T-maze alternation tests assessed recognition and working memory, respectively, and the social interaction test assessed sociability. POLY+VEH offspring exhibited impaired recognition and working memory, and reduced social interaction compared to CONT+VEH offspring (p<0.01). CBD treatment significantly improved recognition, working memory and social interaction deficits in the poly I:C model (p<0.01 vs POLY+VEH), did not affect total body weight gain, food or water intake, and had no effect in control animals (all p>0.05). In conclusion, chronic CBD administration can attenuate the social interaction and cognitive deficits induced by prenatal poly I:C infection. These novel findings present interesting implications for potential use of CBD in treating the cognitive deficits and social withdrawal of schizophrenia.
The mainstay treatment for schizophrenia is antipsychotic drugs (APDs), which are mostly effective against the positive symptoms (e.g. hallucinations), but provide minimal benefits for the negative symptoms (e.g. social withdrawal) and cognitive deficits. We have recently shown that treatment with the non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), can improve cognition and social interaction deficits in a maternal immune activation (MIA) model relevant to the aetiology of schizophrenia, however, the mechanisms underlying this effect are unknown. An imbalance in the main excitatory (glutamate) and inhibitory (GABA) neurotransmitter systems in the brain plays a role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Therefore, the endocannabinoid system could represent a therapeutic target for schizophrenia as a regulator of glutamate and GABA release via the CB1 receptor (CB1R). This study investigated the effects of chronic CBD treatment on markers of glutamatergic, GABAergic and endocannabinoid signalling in brain regions implicated in social behaviour and cognitive function, including the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus (HPC). Timemated pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 16) were administered poly I:C (4 mg/kg, i.v.) or saline (control) on gestational day 15. Male offspring were injected with CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle twice daily from postnatal day 56 for 3 weeks. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus (HPC) were collected for postmortem receptor binding and Western blot analyses (n = 8 per group). CBD treatment attenuated poly I:Cinduced deficits in cannabinoid CB1 receptor binding in the PFC and glutamate decarboxylase 67, the enzyme that converts glutamate to GABA, in the HPC. CBD treatment increased parvalbumin levels in the HPC, regardless of whether offspring were exposed to poly I:C in utero. Conversely, CBD did not affect Nmethyl-d-aspartate receptor and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptor binding or protein levels of fatty acid amide hydrolase, the enzyme that degrades the endocannabinoid, anandamide. Overall, these findings show that CBD can restore cannabinoid/GABAergic signalling deficits in regions of the brain implicated in schizophrenia pathophysiology following maternal poly I:C exposure. These findings provide novel evidence for the potential mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of CBD treatment in the poly I:C model.
BackgroundSecond generation antipsychotics (SGAs) induce glucometabolic side-effects, such as hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, which pose a therapeutic challenge for mental illness. Sphingolipids play a role in glycaemic balance and insulin resistance. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress contributes to impaired insulin signalling and whole-body glucose intolerance. Diabetogenic SGA effects on ER stress and sphingolipids, such as ceramide and sphingomyelin, in peripheral metabolic tissues are unknown. This study aimed to investigate the acute effects of clozapine and olanzapine on ceramide and sphingomyelin levels, and protein expression of key enzymes involved in lipid and glucose metabolism, in the liver and skeletal muscle.MethodsFemale rats were administered olanzapine (1 mg/kg), clozapine (12 mg/kg), or vehicle (control) and euthanized 1-h later. Ceramide and sphingomyelin levels were examined using electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectrometry. Expression of lipid enzymes (ceramide synthase 2 (CerS2), elongation of very long-chain fatty acid 1 (ELOVL1), fatty acid synthase (FAS) and acetyl CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1)), ER stress markers (inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) and eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF2α) were also examined.ResultsClozapine caused robust reductions in hepatic ceramide and sphingolipid levels (p < 0.0001), upregulated CerS2 (p < 0.05) and ELOVL1 (+ 37%) and induced significant hyperglycemia (vs controls). In contrast, olanzapine increased hepatic sphingomyelin levels (p < 0.05 vs controls). SGAs did not alter sphingolipid levels in the muscle. Clozapine increased (+ 52.5%) hepatic eIF2α phosphorylation, demonstrating evidence of activation of the PERK/eIF2α ER stress axis. Hepatic IRE1, FAS and ACC1 were unaltered.ConclusionsThis study provides the first evidence that diabetogenic SGAs disrupt hepatic sphingolipid homeostasis within 1-h of administration. Sphingolipids may be key candidates in the mechanisms underlying the diabetes side-effects of SGAs; however, further research is required.
Cognitive impairment is a major source of disability in schizophrenia and current antipsychotic drugs (APDs) have minimal efficacy for this symptom domain. Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-intoxicating component of Cannabis sativa L., exhibits antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties. We recently reported the effects of CBD on cognition in male offspring of a maternal immune activation (polyinosinicpolycytidilic acid (poly I:C)) model relevant to the aetiology of schizophrenia; however, the effects of CBD treatment in females are unknown. Sex differences are observed in the onset of schizophrenia symptoms and response to APD treatment. Furthermore, the endogenous cannabinoid system, a direct target of CBD, is sexually dimorphic in humans and rodents. Therefore, the present work aimed to assess the therapeutic impact of CBD treatment on behaviour and neurochemical signalling markers in female poly I:C offspring. Time-mated pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 16) were administered poly I:C (4 mg/kg; i.v.) or saline (control) on gestational day 15. From postnatal day 56, female offspring received CBD (10 mg/ kg, i.p.) or vehicle treatment for approximately 3 weeks. Following 2 weeks of CBD treatment, offspring underwent behavioural testing, including the novel object recognition, rewarded alternation T-maze and social interaction tests to assess recognition memory, working memory and sociability, respectively. After 3 weeks of CBD treatment, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus (HPC) were collected to assess effects on endocannabinoid, glutamatergic and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signalling markers. CBD attenuated poly I:C-induced deficits in recognition memory, social interaction and glutamatergic Nmethyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) binding in the PFC of poly I:C offspring. Working memory performance was similar between treatment groups. CBD also increased glutamate decarboxylase 67, the rate-limiting enzyme that converts glutamate to GABA, and parvalbumin protein levels in the HPC. In contrast to the CBD treatment effects observed in poly I:C offspring, CBD administration to control rats reduced social interaction, cannabinoid CB1 receptor and NMDAR binding density in the PFC, suggesting that CBD administration to healthy rats may have negative consequences on social behaviour and brain maturation in adulthood. Overall, the findings of this study support the therapeutic benefits of CBD on recognition memory and sociability in female poly I:C offspring, and provide insight into the neurochemical changes that may underlie the therapeutic benefits of CBD in the poly I:C model.
Liraglutide co-treatment improved aspects of cognition, prevented obesity side-effects of olanzapine, and the hyperglycaemia caused by clozapine, when administered from the start of APD treatment. The results demonstrate a potential treatment for individuals at a high risk of experiencing adverse effects of APDs.
Background: Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that prevents metabolic side effects of the antipsychotic drugs (APDs) olanzapine and clozapine through unknown mechanisms. Aim: This study aimed to investigate the effect of chronic APD and liraglutide co-treatment on key neural and peripheral metabolic signals, and acute liraglutide co-treatment on clozapine-induced hyperglycaemia. Methods: In study 1, rats were administered olanzapine (2 mg/kg), clozapine (12 mg/kg), liraglutide (0.2 mg/kg), olanzapine + liraglutide co-treatment, clozapine + liraglutide co-treatment or vehicle for six weeks. Feeding efficiency was examined weekly. Examination of brain tissue (dorsal vagal complex (DVC) and mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH)), plasma metabolic hormones and peripheral (liver and kidney) cellular metabolism and oxidative stress was conducted. In study 2, rats were administered a single dose of clozapine (12 mg/kg), liraglutide (0.4 mg/kg), clozapine + liraglutide co-treatment or vehicle. Glucose tolerance and plasma hormone levels were assessed. Results: Liraglutide co-treatment prevented the time-dependent increase in feeding efficiency caused by olanzapine, which plateaued by six weeks. There was no effect of chronic treatment on melanocortinergic, GABAergic, glutamatergic or endocannabionoid markers in the MBH or DVC. Peripheral hormones and cellular metabolic markers were unaltered by chronic APD treatment. Acute liraglutide co-treatment was unable to prevent clozapine-induced hyperglycaemia, but it did alter catecholamine levels. Conclusion: The unexpected lack of change to central and peripheral markers following chronic treatment, despite the presence of weight gain, may reflect adaptive mechanisms. Further studies examining alterations across different time points are required to continue to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the benefits of liraglutide on APD-induced metabolic side effects.
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