Objective: Cannabinoids play an important role in the suppression of proinflammatory cytokine production in the periphery and brain. In this study, we explored whether endogenous activation of cannabinoid (CB) 1 receptors (CB1Rs) affects interleukin (IL)-1β levels in the mouse hippocampus under basal conditions and following stimulation with in vivo bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 250 µg/kg i.p.). Methods: IL-1β levels were determined in the hippocampi of wild-type (WT), CB1R–/– and P2X7 receptor (P2X7R)–/– mice using an ELISA kit. Results: Basal but not LPS-induced IL-1β levels were downregulated when CB1R function was abrogated by genetic deletion, suggesting that endocannabinoids contributed to basal IL-1β content in the mouse hippocampus. AM251 (3 mg/kg i.p.), an antagonist of CB1Rs, also inhibited basal IL-1β protein in WT but not in CB1R–/– mice. In the absence of P2X7R, LPS-induced IL-1β production was lower, while the inhibitory effect of CB1R antagonists on basal IL-1β was significantly attenuated. The LPS-induced elevation in IL-1β production was decreased in the presence of AM251 and AM281, with no significant difference between WT and P2X7R–/– mice. Conclusions: CB1Rs are responsible for the modulation of basal IL-1β levels in the hippocampus, while the effects of CB1 antagonists on systemic LPS-induced IL-1β concentrations are independent of CB1Rs.

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