Sex- and age-specific respiratory alterations induced by prenatal exposure to the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 in rats

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Patrone, Luis Gustavo A. [UNESP]
Ferrari, Gustavo D.
da Silva, Rodrigo Moreira
Alberici, Luciane C.
Lopes, Norberto Peporine
Stabile, Angelita M.
Klein, Wilfried
Bícego, Kênia C. [UNESP]
Gargaglioni, Luciane H. [UNESP]

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Background and Purpose: Cannabis legalization has risen in many countries, and its use during pregnancy has increased. The endocannabinoid system is present in the CNS at early stages of embryonic development, and regulates functional brain maturation including areas responsible for respiratory control, data on the influence of external cannabinoids on the development of the respiratory system and possible consequences during postnatal life are limited. Experimental Approach: We evaluated the effects of prenatal exposure to synthetic cannabinoid (WIN 55,212-2 [WIN], 0.5 mg·kg−1·day−1) on the respiratory control system in neonatal (P0, P6–7 and P12–13) and juvenile (P27–28) male and female rats. Key Results: WIN administration to pregnant rats interfered sex-specifically with breathing regulation of offspring, promoting a greater sensitivity to CO2 at all ages in males (except P6–7) and in juvenile females. An altered hypoxic chemoreflex was observed in P0 (hyperventilation) and P6–7 (hypoventilation) males, which was absent in females. Along with breathing alterations, brainstem analysis showed an increase in the number of catecholaminergic neurons and cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and changes in tissue respiration in the early males. A reduction in pulmonary compliance was observed in juvenile male rats. Preexposure to WIN enhanced spontaneous apnoea and reduced the number of serotoninergic (5-HT) neurons in the raphe magnus nucleus of P0 females. Conclusions and Implications: These data demonstrate that excess stimulation of the endocannabinoid system during gestation has prolonged and sex-specific consequences for the respiratory control system.



brainstem, CB1/CB2 receptor, chemosensitivity, development, WIN 55,212-2

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British Journal of Pharmacology, v. 180, n. 13, p. 1766-1789, 2023.