Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Investigation of WINN55,212-2 on Development of Zebrafish Endocannabinoid System

Publication Date

Spring 3-29-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Biology, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Glenn

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


Cannabis is one the most consumed federally illegal drugs in the United States and in Europe (Roncero et al. 2020). It is most prevalent among young adults while the effects of its use are not well understood. Cannabinoids like cannabis stimulate the endocannabinoid system, a neurotransmitter system interconnected with drug use, anxiety, pain, cognition, and immune activity (Denim et al. 2018). Previous studies have shown that the use of cannabinoids during pregnancy could “produce neurochemical alterations in both humans and in research animals”. Cannabinoids are lipid, retrograde neurotransmitters have been shown to act mostly on CNR1 and CNR2 (cnr1 and cnr2 in zebrafish respectively) receptors which modulate many pathways in the central nervous system. The objective of this study is to better understand how prenatal cannabinoid exposure affects a developing embryo. Since zebrafish share 70% of their genetic information with humans and have similar pathways for the CNR1 and CNR2 receptors, they were chosen as model organisms to carry out this study (Burke) (Lee Ellis). Previous work from our lab showed that treatment of zebrafish embryos with a synthetic cannabinoid, WINN55,212-2, led to premature hatching, morphological changes, and a downregulation of each of the cannabinoid receptors. We investigated the role of these receptors further by treating zebrafish embryos with a half dose of WINN55,212-2 at various times during its development. We treated some of the embryos right after the eggs had been fertilized for 24 hours in order to analyze how the timing window of the treatment would affect the overall development of the zebrafish. The goal for this study is to have a better understanding of how the use of cannabinoids can affect embryonic development when they are introduced at varying stages of embryonic development in zebrafish.

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