Rapamycin prevents the long-term impairing effects of adolescence Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on memory and plasticity in male rats

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Long-lasting cognitive impairment is one of the most central negative consequences related to the exposure to cannabis during adolescence and particularly of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The aim of this study was to compare the protracted effects of adolescent versus late-adolescent chronic exposure to THC on short-term memory and plasticity and to examine whether rapamycin, a blocker of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, can restore THC-induced deficits in memory and plasticity. Male rats were injected with ascending doses of THC [2.5, 5, 10 mg/kg; intraperitoneally (i.p.)] during adolescence and late-adolescence (post-natal days 30–41 and 45–56, respectively), followed by daily injections of rapamycin (1 mg/kg, i.p.) during the first 10 days of cessation from THC. Thirty days after the last injection, rats were tested for short-term and working memory, anxiety-like behaviour, and plasticity in the pathways projecting from the ventral subiculum (vSub) of the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc). THC exposure in adolescence, but not late-adolescence, was found to induce long-term deficits in object recognition short-term memory and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampal-accumbens pathway. Importantly, rapamycin rescued these persistent effects of THC administered during adolescence. Our findings show that some forms of memory and plasticity are sensitive to chronic THC administration during adolescence and that rapamycin administered during THC cessation may restore cognitive function and plasticity, thus potentially protecting against the possible long-term harmful effects of THC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6104-6122
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • LTP
  • adolescence
  • cannabis
  • nucleus accumbens
  • short-term memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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