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Keywords:

  • AM6545;
  • CB1 receptor antagonist;
  • food intake;
  • conditioned gaping;
  • conditioned taste avoidance

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonists reduce food intake and body weight, but clinical use in humans is limited by effects on the CNS. We have evaluated a novel cannabinoid antagonist (AM6545) designed to have limited CNS penetration, to see if it would inhibit food intake in rodents, without aversive effects.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Cannabinoid receptor binding studies, cAMP assays, brain penetration studies and gastrointestinal motility studies were carried out to assess the activity profile of AM6545. The potential for AM6545 to induce malaise in rats and the actions of AM6545 on food intake and body weight were also investigated.

KEY RESULTS AM6545 binds to CB1 receptors with a Ki of 1.7 nM and CB2 receptors with a Ki of 523 nM. AM6545 is a neutral antagonist, having no effect on cAMP levels in transfected cells and was less centrally penetrant than AM4113, a comparable CB1 receptor antagonist. AM6545 reversed the effects of WIN55212-2 in an assay of colonic motility. In contrast to AM251, AM6545 did not produce conditioned gaping or conditioned taste avoidance in rats. In rats and mice, AM6545 dose-dependently reduced food intake and induced a sustained reduction in body weight. The effect on food intake was maintained in rats with a complete subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. AM6545 inhibited food intake in CB1 receptor gene-deficient mice, but not in CB1/CB2 receptor double knockout mice.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Peripherally active, cannabinoid receptor antagonists with limited brain penetration may be useful agents for the treatment of obesity and its complications.