Endocannabinoid Signaling and Synaptic Function

Pablo E. Castillo, Thomas J. Younts, Andrés E. Chávez, Yuki Hashimotodani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

383 Scopus citations

Abstract

Endocannabinoids are key modulators of synaptic function. By activating cannabinoid receptors expressed in the central nervous system, these lipid messengers can regulate several neural functions and behaviors. As experimental tools advance, the repertoire of known endocannabinoid-mediated effects at the synapse, and their underlying mechanism, continues to expand. Retrograde signaling is the principal mode by which endocannabinoids mediate short- and long-term forms of plasticity at both excitatory and inhibitory synapses. However, growing evidence suggests that endocannabinoids can also signal in a nonretrograde manner. In addition to mediating synaptic plasticity, the endocannabinoid system is itself subject to plastic changes. Multiple points of interaction with other neuromodulatory and signaling systems have now been identified. In this Review, we focus on new advances in synaptic endocannabinoid signaling in the mammalian brain. The emerging picture not only reinforces endocannabinoids as potent regulators of synaptic function but also reveals that endocannabinoid signaling is mechanistically more complex and diverse than originally thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-81
Number of pages12
JournalNeuron
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 4 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Castillo, P. E., Younts, T. J., Chávez, A. E., & Hashimotodani, Y. (2012). Endocannabinoid Signaling and Synaptic Function. Neuron, 76(1), 70-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.020