Synaptic functions of endocannabinoid signaling in health and disease

Alfonso Araque, Pablo E. Castillo, Olivier J. Manzoni, Raffaella Tonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are a family of lipid molecules that act as key regulators of synaptic transmission and plasticity. They are synthetized "on demand" following physiological and/or pathological stimuli. Once released from postsynaptic neurons, eCBs typically act as retrograde messengers to activate presynaptic type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) and induce short- or long-term depression of neurotransmitter release. Besides this canonical mechanism of action, recent findings have revealed a number of less conventional mechanisms by which eCBs regulate neural activity and synaptic function, suggesting that eCB-mediated plasticity is mechanistically more diverse than anticipated. These mechanisms include non-retrograde signaling, signaling via astrocytes, participation in long-term potentiation, and the involvement of mitochondrial CB1. Focusing on paradigmatic brain areas, such as hippocampus, striatum, and neocortex, we review typical and novel signaling mechanisms, and discuss the functional implications in normal brain function and brain diseases. In summary, eCB signaling may lead to different forms of synaptic plasticity through activation of a plethora of mechanisms, which provide further complexity to the functional consequences of eCB signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeuropharmacology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 30 2017

Fingerprint

Endocannabinoids
Neuronal Plasticity
Health
Cannabinoid Receptor CB1
Long-Term Potentiation
Neocortex
Brain
Brain Diseases
Synaptic Transmission
Astrocytes
Neurotransmitter Agents
Hippocampus
Lipids
Neurons

Keywords

  • Astrocytes
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Hippocampus
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Striatum
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Synaptic functions of endocannabinoid signaling in health and disease. / Araque, Alfonso; Castillo, Pablo E.; Manzoni, Olivier J.; Tonini, Raffaella.

In: Neuropharmacology, 30.04.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Araque, Alfonso ; Castillo, Pablo E. ; Manzoni, Olivier J. ; Tonini, Raffaella. / Synaptic functions of endocannabinoid signaling in health and disease. In: Neuropharmacology. 2017.
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