CB2 cannabinoid receptor knockout in mice impairs contextual long-term memory and enhances spatial working memory

Yong Li, Jimok Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


Neurocognitive effects of cannabinoids have been extensively studied with a focus on CB1 cannabinoid receptors because CB1 receptors have been considered the major cannabinoid receptor in the nervous system. However, recent discoveries of CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the brain demand accurate determination of whether and how CB2 receptors are involved in the cognitive effects of cannabinoids. CB2 cannabinoid receptors are primarily involved in immune functions, but also implicated in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. Here, we examined the effects of CB2 receptor knockout in mice on memory to determine the roles of CB2 receptors in modulating cognitive function. Behavioral assays revealed that hippocampus-dependent, long-term contextual fear memory was impaired whereas hippocampus-independent, cued fear memory was normal in CB2 receptor knockout mice. These mice also displayed enhanced spatial working memory when tested in a Y-maze. Motor activity and anxiety of CB2 receptor knockout mice were intact when assessed in an open field arena and an elevated zero maze. In contrast to the knockout of CB2 receptors, acute blockade of CB2 receptors by AM603 in C57BL/6J mice had no effect on memory, motor activity, or anxiety. Our results suggest that CB2 cannabinoid receptors play diverse roles in regulating memory depending on memory types and/or brain areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9817089
JournalNeural Plasticity
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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