Original Article | Published:

The Differential Binding of Antipsychotic Drugs to the ABC Transporter P-Glycoprotein Predicts Cannabinoid–Antipsychotic Drug Interactions

Neuropsychopharmacology volume 42, pages 22222231 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Cannabis use increases rates of psychotic relapse and treatment failure in schizophrenia patients. Clinical studies suggest that cannabis use reduces the efficacy of antipsychotic drugs, but there has been no direct demonstration of this in a controlled study. The present study demonstrates that exposure to the principal phytocannabinoid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), reverses the neurobehavioral effects of the antipsychotic drug risperidone in mice. THC exposure did not influence D2 and 5-HT2A receptor binding, the major targets of antipsychotic action, but it lowered the brain concentrations of risperidone and its active metabolite, 9-hydroxy risperidone. As risperidone and its active metabolite are excellent substrates of the ABC transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp), we hypothesized that THC might increase P-gp expression at the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and thus enhance efflux of risperidone and its metabolite from brain tissue. We confirmed that the brain disposition of risperidone and 9-hydroxy risperidone is strongly influenced by P-gp, as P-gp knockout mice displayed greater brain concentrations of these drugs than wild-type mice. Furthermore, we demonstrated that THC exposure increased P-gp expression in various brain regions important to risperidone’s antipsychotic action. We then showed that THC exposure did not influence the neurobehavioral effects of clozapine. Clozapine shares a very similar antipsychotic mode of action to risperidone, but unlike risperidone is not a P-gp substrate. Our results imply that clozapine or non-P-gp substrate antipsychotic drugs may be better first-line treatments for schizophrenia patients with a history of cannabis use.

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Affiliations

  1. The Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

    • Natalia I Brzozowska
    • , Aurelie A Boucher
    • , Paul D Callaghan
    •  & Jonathon C Arnold
  2. Discipline of Pharmacology, School of Medical Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

    • Natalia I Brzozowska
    • , Erik J de Tonnerre
    • , Kong M Li
    • , Aurelie A Boucher
    • , Alex Wong
    •  & Jonathon C Arnold
  3. Bosch Mass Spectrometry Facility, Bosch Institute, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

    • Xiao Suo Wang
  4. ANSTO Life Sciences, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Kirrawee, NSW, Australia

    • Paul D Callaghan
  5. Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility, The Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

    • Michael Kuligowski

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Correspondence to Jonathon C Arnold.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2017.50

Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on the Neuropsychopharmacology website (http://www.nature.com/npp)