Adolescent exposure to the Spice/K2 cannabinoid JWH-018 impairs sensorimotor gating and alters cortical perineuronal nets in a sex-dependent manner.
Abstract: The consumption of synthetic cannabinoids during adolescence is reported to be a risk factor for the appearance of psychiatric disorders later in life. JWH-018 was identified as one of the primary psychoactive components present in Spice/K2 preparations. This study evaluated the short- and long-term consequences of exposure to JWH-018 during the adolescence in anxiety-like behavior, fear extinction, and sensorimotor gating in male and female mice. Alterations in anxiety varied depending on the time interval between treatment and behavioral analysis along with sex, while no changes were observed in the extinction of fear memory. A decrease in prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex was revealed in male, but not female, mice at short- and long-term. This behavioral disturbance was associated with a reduction in the number of perineuronal nets in the prelimbic and infralimbic regions of the prefrontal cortex in the short-term. Furthermore, adolescent exposure to JWH-018 induced an activation of microglia and astrocytes in the prefrontal cortex of male mice at both time intervals. A transitory decrease in the expression of GAD67 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the prefrontal cortex was also found in male mice exposed to JWH-018. These data reveal that the treatment with JWH-018 during the adolescence leads to long-lasting neurobiological changes related to psychotic-like symptoms, which were sex-dependent.
- CIENCIAS EXPERIMENTALES