COX-2 Inhibition Antagonizes Intra-Accumbens 2-Arachidonoylglycerol-Mediated Reduction in Ethanol Self-Administration in Rats.

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Ethanol (EtOH) self-administration is particularly sensitive to the modulation of CB1 signaling in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell, and EtOH consumption increases extracellular levels of the endogenous cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonist 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) in this brain region. Stimulation of CB1 receptor with agonists increases EtOH consumption, suggesting that EtOH-induced increases in 2-AG might sustain motivation for EtOH intake. In order to further explore this hypothesis, we analyzed the alterations in operant EtOH self-administration induced by intra-NAc shell infusions of 2-AG itself, the CB1 inverse agonist SR141716A, the 2-AG clearance inhibitor URB602, anandamide, and the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor nimesulide. Surprisingly, self-administration of 10% EtOH was dose-dependently reduced by either intra-NAc shell SR141716A or 2-AG infusions. Similar effects were found by intra-NAc shell infusions of URB602, suggesting again a role for accumbal 2-AG on the modulation of EtOH intake. Intra-NAc shell anandamide did not alter EtOH self-administration, pointing to a specific role for 2-AG in the modulation of EtOH self-administration. Finally, the inhibitory effect of intra-NAc shell 2-AG on EtOH intake was significantly reversed by pretreatment with nimesulide, suggesting that oxidative metabolites of 2-AG might mediate these inhibitory effects on operant self-administration. We propose that 2-AG signaling in the NAc exerts an inhibitory influence on EtOH consumption through a non-CB1 receptor mechanism involving the COX-2 pathway.
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2-Arachidonoyl Glycerol, Cyclooxygenase-2, Ethanol, Nucleus Accumbens