Cocaine abuse remains a public health threat around the world. There are no pharmacological treatments approved for cocaine use disorder. Cannabis has received growing attention as a treatment for many conditions, including addiction. Most cannabis-based medication development has focused on cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1R) antagonists (and also inverse agonists) such as rimonabant, but clinical trials with rimonabant have failed due to its significant side-effects. Here we sought to determine whether a novel and selective CB2R inverse agonist, Xie2-64, has similar therapeutic potential for cocaine use disorder. Computational modeling indicated that Xie2-64 binds to CB2R in a way similar to SR144528, another well-characterized but less selective CB2R antagonist/inverse agonist, suggesting that Xie2-64 may also have CB2R antagonist profiles. Unexpectedly, systemic administration of Xie2-64 or SR144528 dose-dependently inhibited intravenous cocaine self-administration and shifted cocaine dose-response curves downward in rats and wild-type, but not in CB2R-knockout, mice. Xie2-64 also dose-dependently attenuated cocaine-enhanced brain-stimulation reward maintained by optical stimulation of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons in DAT-Cre mice, while Xie2-64 or SR144528 alone inhibited optical brain-stimulation reward. In vivo microdialysis revealed that systemic or local administration of Xie2-64 into the nucleus accumbens reduced extracellular dopamine levels in a dose-dependent manner in rats. Together, these results suggest that Xie2-64 has significant anti-cocaine reward effects likely through a dopamine-dependent mechanism, and therefore, deserves further study as a new pharmacotherapy for cocaine use disorder.
Keywords: CB(2) receptor, Cannabinoid, Cocaine, Dopamine, Optogenetics, Self-administration, Xie2-64
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Conflict of interest statement
Declaration of competing interest None of the authors have any conflicts of interest.