A novel allosteric modulator of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor ameliorates hyperdopaminergia endophenotypes in rodent models

Catharine A Mielnik, Kim S Sugamori, David B Finlay, Hayley H A Thorpe, Matthieu Schapira, Nirunthan Sivananthan, Chun Kit Li, Vincent M lam, Sean Harrington, Mostafa H Abdelrahman, Laurent A Trembleau, W. McIntyre Burnham, Jibran Y Khokhar, Ali Salahpour, Amy J Ramsey, Michelle Glass, Iain R. Greig, Ruth A. Ross* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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The endocannabinoid system (eCBs) encompasses the endocannabinoids, their synthetic and degradative enzymes, and cannabinoid (CB) receptors. The eCBs mediates inhibition of neurotransmitter release and acts as a major homeostatic system. Many aspects of the eCBs are altered in a number of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, which is characterized by dysregulation of dopaminergic signaling. The GluN1-Knockdown (GluN1KD) and Dopamine Transporter Knockout (DATKO) mice are models of hyperdopaminergia, which display abnormal psychosis-related behaviors, including hyperlocomotion and changes in pre-pulse inhibition (PPI). Here, we investigate the ability of a novel CB1 receptor (CB1R) allosteric modulator, ABM300, to ameliorate these dysregulated behaviors. ABM300 was characterized in vitro (receptor binding, β-arrestin2 recruitment, ERK1/2 phosphorylation, cAMP inhibition) and in vivo (anxiety-like behaviors, cannabimimetic effects, novel environment exploratory behavior, pre-pulse inhibition, conditioned avoidance response) to assess the effects of the compound in dysregulated behaviors within the transgenic models. In vitro, ABM300 increased CB1R agonist binding but acted as an inhibitor of CB1R agonist induced signaling, including β-arrestin2 translocation, ERK phosphorylation and cAMP inhibition. In vivo, ABM300 did not elicit anxiogenic-like or cannabimimetic effects, but it decreased novelty-induced hyperactivity, exaggerated stereotypy, and vertical exploration in both transgenic models of hyperdopaminergia, as well as normalizing PPI in DATKO mice. The data demonstrate for the first time that a CB1R allosteric modulator ameliorates the behavioral deficits in two models of increased dopamine, warranting further investigation as a potential therapeutic target in psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Early online date8 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding and disclosure

The authors declare the following financial and biomedical conflict of interests: Ruth A. Ross, Catharine A. Mielnik, Amy J. Ramsey, Iain R. Greig, Laurent A. Trembleau, Mostafa H. Abdelrahman are co-inventors on a patent application related to ABM300 and structural analogs. Kim S. Sugamori, David B. Finlay, Hayley H.A. Thorpe, Matthieu Schapira, Nirunthan Sivananthan, Chun Kit Li, Vincent M. Lam, Sean Harrington, W. McIntyre Burnham, Jibran Y. Khokhar, Ali Salahpour, Michelle Glass reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. W. McIntyre Burnham received Δ9- (THC) as a gift from MedReleaf. The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge Wendy Horsfall for mouse colony maintenance. The work was funded by grants to RAR from CIHR (PPP-125784, PP2-139101), CIHR funding to AJR (MOP119298) and CIHR funding to AS (PJT-15619).


  • cannabinoid
  • Allosteric modulator
  • psychosis
  • hyperdopaminergia
  • pharmacology
  • sensorimotor processing


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