Chronic cannabinoid administration to periadolescent rats modulates the metabolic response to acute cocaine in the adult brain.
To analyze brain metabolic response to acute cocaine in male and female Wistar rats with or without a history of cannabinoid exposure during periadolescence. The synthetic cannabinoid agonist CP 55,940 (CP) or its vehicle (VH), were administered to male and female rats during periadolescence. When these animals reached adulthood, saline and cocaine-induced changes in 2-deoxy-2-[¹⁸F]fluoro-D-: glucose (FDG) uptake were studied by positron emission tomography. The baseline (post-saline) metabolism in the septal nuclei was higher in CP-females than in VH-females, although septal metabolism was lower in CP-females after cocaine, reaching similar values to those of VH-females at baseline. Cocaine did not affect metabolism in VH-females. Periadolescent cannabinoid treatment did not influence baseline metabolism in males although cocaine reduced the FDG uptake in the dorsal striatum of males that received the VH but not CP. These results suggest that cannabinoids during periadolescence modify baseline and cocaine-evoked brain metabolism in a sex-dependent manner. In the case of CP-females, the involvement of septal metabolic alterations in their susceptibility to the rewarding effects of cocaine should be further investigated.