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Title: Appetite and functional brain responses to cannabinoids
Author: Dodd, Garron
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 8653
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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The obesity epidemic is a major health threat affecting one in four people in the affluent western world, where high-energy foods are easily available and there is little need for exercise. To identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of obesity, one important step is to further define the complex circuitry in the brainwhich is ultimately responsible for our appetite and body weight regulation. Although complex, appetite can be thought of as having two distinct, though none mutually exclusive, aspects: the need to eat (homeostatic) and the desire to eat(hedonistic).The need to eat, a product of energy homeostasis, is what drives the consumption offood for basic survival. In an attempt to further define the mainly “homeostatic” neuronal circuitry, we combined blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD)pharmacological-challenge magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) with c-Fosfunctional activity mapping to characterise “whole brain” responsiveness to anorexigenic dose of the glucose anti metabolite 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG). Using thesecomplementary methods, we demonstrated functional brain activity in a number ofknown glucose-sensing brain regions, including parts of the hypothalamus andbrainstem, following administration of 2-DG when compared with vehicle treatment.The desire to eat is a result of a complex interplay between the reward andmotivational circuits implicated in addictive behaviours, and those which controlenergy homeostasis. Recent research has pointed to the endocannabinoid system,and specifically the central cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor, as a key target mediatingthe functional cross talk between the two appetitive systems. To define the sites ofaction of cannabinoids, we used an orexigenic dose of the full CB1 agonist, CP55940,to map responsive brain regions again using BOLD phMRI and whole-brain c-Fosfunctional activity mapping. Areas of interest demonstrated a drug interaction whenthe CB1 receptor inverse agonist, Rimonabant was co-administered. These complementary methods demonstrated functional activity in the cortico-striatalhypothalamicpathway, a key system in the motivational drive to eat.The appetitive actions of synthetic CB1 inverse agonists such as Rimonabant are welldocumented. We, however, described a putative novel endogenous CB1 inverseagonist, hemopressin, which is the first identified peptide ligand of CB1 receptors.We showed that hemopressin inhibits agonist-induced receptor internalisation in aheterologous cell model in vitro. When administered centrally or systemically in vivo,we found that hemopressin decreases nocturnal food intake in out-bred rats andmice, as well as in obese, leptin-deficient ob/obmice. Importantly, hemopressininduces hypophagia without causing any apparent adverse side effects. We have also shown that the anorectic effect is absent in CB1-/- mice, and that hemopressin canblock CB1 agonist-induced hyperphagia in male rats, providing strong evidence forantagonism of the CB1 receptor in vivo. We speculate that hemopressin may be one of a family of endogenous functional CB1 receptor ligands that modulate the activity of appetite pathways in the brain.
Supervisor: Luckman, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neuroscience ; Cannabinoids ; Feeding Behaviour ; Cannabis ; CB1 Receptor ; hemopressin ; fMRI ; Brain ; Addiction