Molecular Precision Mental Health

Molecular Precision Mental Health

Experimental studies in rodents

We have been conducting animal studies in collaboration with the Max-Planck-Institute for neurological research, Cologne and subsequently the Institute of Radiochemistry and Experimental Molecular Imaging, University of Cologne. Our research focused on the role of the endogenous cannabinoid system and the cerebral energy metabolism, as well as their interaction in models for aspects of psychiatric conditions.

Our translational research approach involved experimentally inducing disorders of social behavior, cognition and motion in rats in various ways. We then observed relevant changes in behavior, as well as their effect on the endocannabinoid system and the cerebral energy metabolism, using various invasive and non-invasive examination techniques. Examples include the animal PET or the examination of the concentration of endocannabinoids and related fatty acids in body fluids of the rats. Additionally, we examined the influences of established and recent pharmacotherapeutic interventions in more detail.

Despite the success of our research, we have temporarily suspended our animal studies and are currently pursuing similar research directions through collaborations with various researchers.


Y. Bouter, M. M. Brzozka, R. Rygula, F. Pahlisch, F. M. Leweke, U. Havemann-Reinecke, C. Rohleder: Chronic Psychosocial Stress Causes Increased Anxiety-Like Behavior and Alters Endocannabinoid Levels in the Brain of C57Bl/6J Mice. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res (2020) 5:51-61

C. Rohleder, F. Pahlisch, R. Graf, H. Endepols, F. M. Leweke: Different pharmaceutical preparations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol differentially affect its behavioural effects in rats. Addict Biol (2020) 25:e12745

C. Rohleder, D. Wiedermann, B. Neumaier, A. Drzezga, L. Timmermann, R. Graf, F. M. Leweke, Heike Endepols: The functional networks of prepulse inhibition: Neuronal connectivity analysis based on FDG-PET in awake and unrestrained rats. Front Behav Neurosci (2016) 10:148.

C. Rohleder, F. Jung, H. Mertgens, D. Wiedermann, M. Sue, B. Neumaier, R. Graf, F. M. Leweke, H. Endepols: Functional metabolic PET-imaging of auditory prepulse inhibition in awake rats. Front Behav Neurosci (2014) 8:178.

F. M. Leweke, M. Schneider: Chronic pubertal cannabinoid treatment as a behavioural model for aspects of schizophrenia: effects of the atypical antipsychotic quetiapine. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol (2011) 14: 43-51.

M. Klugmann, V. Klippenstein, F. M. Leweke, R. Spanagel, M. Schneider: Cannabinoid exposure in pubertal rats increases spontaneous ethanol consumption and NMDA receptor associated protein levels. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol (2011) 14: 505-517.

M. Schneider, E. Schömig, F. M. Leweke: Acute and chronic cannabinoid treatment differentially affects recognition memory and social behavior in pubertal and adult rats. Addict Biol (2008) 13: 345-357.

M. Schneider, E. Drews, M. Koch, E. Schömig, F. M. Leweke: Behavioral effects in adult rats of chronic treatment with the cannabinoid receptor agonist win 55,212-2 during different phases of development. Behav Pharmacol (2005) 16: S57-58.