Behavioral assessment of rimonabant under acute and chronic conditions
Ettaro, R., Laudermilk, L., Clark, S. D., & Maitra, R. (2020). Behavioral assessment of rimonabant under acute and chronic conditions. Behavioural Brain Research, 390, 112697. Article 112697. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112697
Cannabinoid subtype 1 receptor (CB1R) antagonists were originally developed as anti-obesity agents. Unfortunately, SR1417116A (rimonabant), the first marketed inverse agonist of CB1R, produced CNS-related adverse effects including depression and suicidal ideation, and thus it was withdrawn from the market. These effects of rimonabant became evident in patients following chronic dosing. Standard preclinical toxicity studies failed to detect these adverse effects. The goal of these studies was to perform an integrated battery of behavioral assays to better understand the behavioral effects of rimonabant following both acute and chronic administration. In the present study, acute dosing with rimonabant in rats significantly decreased food consumption; decreased measures of locomotor activity; increased scratching, grooming and wet-dog shakes; and increased defecation. Subsequently, animals were tested using a chronic dosing regimen but prior to drug administration for that day. The highest dose of rimonabant tested significantly decreased marble burying behavior, presumably anxiolysis. There were also significant effects in social interaction after chronic dosing. Our results did not reveal significant rimonabant-induced anxiogenic behaviors. Future studies to characterize behavioral screens for anxiogenic effects of CB1 antagonists in rodents should further explore social interaction paradigms and potential comorbid factors of rimonabant dosing such as sex, age, and obesity.