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Giovanni Marsicano"The endogenous cannabinoid system: physiological control of neuronal activity"

Abstract :


T
he endogenous cannabinoid system is an important neuromodulatory system in mammalian physiology. It consists of the seven transmembrane cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1, discovered as neuronal target of the psychoactive compound of the plant Cannabis sativa,
9-tetrahydrocannabinol), its endogenous lipid ligands (endocannabinoids) and the enzymatic machinery for their synthesis and degradation.
The physiological functions of the endogenous cannabinoid system differ in many aspects from the known pharmacological effects of exogenously administered cannabinoids. By genetic, pharmacological, biochemical and behavioural approaches, our group has recently described several physiological and pathophysiological functions of the endogenous cannabinoid system, such as the modulation of the processing of aversive memories and the neuroprotection against excitotoxicity.
These and other results indicate that the endogenous cannabinoid system is centrally involved in many physiological functions and that pathological alterations of its activity might participate in the progress of neuronal diseases.
Therefore, modulation of the activity of the endogenous cannabinoid system might represent a promising novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of neurological disorders. 

Selected publications

Azad SC, Monory K, Marsicano G, Cravatt BF, Lutz B, Zieglgansberger W, Rammes G.
Circuitry for associative plasticity in the amygdala involves endocannabinoid signaling.
J Neurosci. 2004 Nov 3;24(44):9953-61.
Cannich A, Wotjak CT, Kamprath K, Hermann H, Lutz B, Marsicano G.
CB1 cannabinoid receptors modulate kinase and phosphatase activity during extinction of conditioned fear in mice.
Learn Mem. 2004 Sep-Oct;11(5):625-32.
Massa F, Marsicano G, Hermann H, Cannich A, Monory K, Cravatt BF, Ferri GL, Sibaev A, Storr M, Lutz B.
The endogenous cannabinoid system protects against colonic inflammation.
J Clin Invest. 2004 Apr;113(8):1202-9.
Marsicano G et al
CB1 cannabinoid receptors and on-demand defense against excitotoxicity.
Science. 2003 Oct 3;302(5642):84-8. 

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