Involvement of reduced acetylcholine release in Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-induced impairment of spatial memory in the 8-arm radial maze

Kenichi Mishima, Nobuaki Egashira, Yoshiaki Matsumoto, Katsunori Iwasaki, Michihiro Fujiwara

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To clarify the mechanism by which Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, a major psychoactive component of marijuana, impairs spatial memory in the 8-arm radial maze in rats via the cholinergic system, we used two acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, physostigmine and tetrahydroaminoacridine. Moreover, we examined the effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on acetylcholine release in the frontal cortex and dorsal and ventral hippocampus using in vivo microdialysis. Physostigmine (0.01-0.05 mg/kg, i.p.) and tetrahydroaminoacridine (1-5 mg/kg, p.o.) improved the impairment of spatial memory induced by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (6 mg/kg, i.p.) in the 8-arm radial maze. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (6 mg/kg, i.p.) produced a significant decrease in acetylcholine release in the dorsal hippocampus as assessed by microdialysis. Moreover, tetrahydroaminoacridine at a dose of 1 mg/kg, which improved the impairment of spatial memory, reversed the decrease in acetylcholine release induced by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in the dorsal hippocampus during 60-120 min after the Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol injection. These findings suggest that inhibition of the cholinergic pathway by reduced acetylcholine release is one of the means by which Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol impairs spatial memory in the 8-arm radial maze.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-407
Number of pages11
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 20 2002
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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