MAM-2201, a synthetic cannabinoid drug of abuse, suppresses the synaptic input to cerebellar Purkinje cells via activation of presynaptic CB1 receptors.

PMID 25747605


Herbal products containing synthetic cannabinoids-initially sold as legal alternatives to marijuana-have become major drugs of abuse. Among the synthetic cannabinoids, [1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indol-3-yl](4-methyl-1-naphthalenyl)-methanone (MAM-2201) has been recently detected in herbal products and has psychoactive and intoxicating effects in humans, suggesting that MAM-2201 alters brain function. Nevertheless, the pharmacological actions of MAM-2201 on cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) and neuronal functions have not been elucidated. We found that MAM-2201 acted as an agonist of human CB1Rs expressed in AtT-20 cells. In whole-cell patch-clamp recordings made from Purkinje cells (PCs) in slice preparations of the mouse cerebellum, we also found that MAM-2201 inhibited glutamate release at parallel fiber-PC synapses via activation of presynaptic CB1Rs. MAM-2201 inhibited neurotransmitter release with an inhibitory concentration 50% of 0.36 μM. MAM-2201 caused greater inhibition of neurotransmitter release than Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol within the range of 0.1-30 μM and JWH-018, one of the most popular and potent synthetic cannabinoids detected in the herbal products, within the range of 0.03-3 μM. MAM-2201 caused a concentration-dependent suppression of GABA release onto PCs. Furthermore, MAM-2201 induced suppression of glutamate release at climbing fiber-PC synapses, leading to reduced dendritic Ca(2+) transients in PCs. These results suggest that MAM-2201 is likely to suppress neurotransmitter release at CB1R-expressing synapses in humans. The reduction of neurotransmitter release from CB1R-containing synapses could contribute to some of the symptoms of synthetic cannabinoid intoxication including impairments in cerebellum-dependent motor coordination and motor learning.