Feeding induced by cannabinoids is mediated independently of the melanocortin system

Puspha Sinnayah, Erin E. Jobst, Joseph A. Rathner, Angela D. Caldera-Siu, Luciana Tonelli-Lemos, Aaron J. Eusterbrock, Pablo J. Enriori, Emmanuel N. Pothos, Kevin L. Grove, Michael A. Cowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, stimulate appetite, and cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1-R) antagonists suppress appetite and promote weight loss. Little is known about how CB1-R antagonists affect the central neurocicuitry, specifically the melanocortin system that regulates energy balance. Methodology/Principal Finding: Here, we show that peripherally administered CB1-R antagonist (AM251) or agonist equally suppressed or stimulated feeding respectively in Ay, which lack a functional melanocortin system, and wildtype mice, demonstrating that cannabinoid effects on feeding do no require melanocortin circuitry. CB1-R antagonist or agonist administered into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) equally suppressed or stimulated feeding respectively, in both genotypes. In addition, peripheral and central cannabinoid administration similarly induced c-Fos activation in brain sites suggesting mediation via motivational dopaminergic circuitry. Amperometry-detected increases in evoked dopamine (DA) release by the CB1-R antagonist in nucleus accumbens slices indicates that AM251 modulates DA release from VTA terminals. Conclusions/Significance: Our results demonstrate that the effects of cannabinoids on energy balance are independent of hypothalamic melanocortin circuitry and is primarily driven by the reward system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2202
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 21 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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