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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

THE ROLE OF THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM DURING ZEBRAFISH DEVELOPMENT**

Abstract

Endogenously produced endocannabinoids that activate the G-protein coupled receptors, CB1 and CB2, are known to influence neurogenesis and axonal pathfinding during vertebrate development. In this study we are using embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio, which demonstrates conservation of the endocannabinoid system) to determine whether exposure to an endocannabinoid agonist (WIN 255.212-2 mesylate) or to an endocannabinoid antagonist (AM251) alters development of zebrafish embryos, and in particular, neural development. Previous studies identified the maximal sublethal doses (≤ 300 nM for both drugs) to use in future studies. At the higher levels of the drugs, hatch rates decreased and embryos appeared to be morphologically stunted. In this study, we have measured the length of embryos at day five postfertilization and have found no difference between the length of control fish and the length of fish treated with either the agonist or antagonist at any dose (10-300 nM). In the next phase of this study, we plan to measure the level of CB1 receptor expression in five day postfertilization embryos to determine if up or down-regulation of the receptor occurs following treatment with these drugs (compared to control).

Acknowledgements

YHC Undergraduate Research Initiative

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