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Manuel Guzman "Control of neural cell generation and survival by cannabinoids"

Abstract :


Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (the major psychoactive component of marijuana) and its endogenous counterparts (the so-called endocannabinoids) target specific receptors on both neurons and glia.
During the past years there has been a rapid expansion in the understanding of endocannabinoid signaling networks. This well established neuromodulatory role of endocannabinoids has been extended to their participation in the control of neural cell generation and survival. Thus, our group has shown that cannabinoid receptors, by coupling to various signaling routes (e.g. ERK, PI3K/Akt and ceramide pathways), promote neural progenitor proliferation and differentiation, neural cell survival and glioma cell death. These findings support the notion that the endocannabinoid system is involved in the control of basic neural-cell decisions, and perhaps constitutes a brain-protection system.

Bio
Manuel Guzmán took his BSc (1986) and PhD (1990) in Biology from Madrid Complutense University. Subsequently he performed his postdoctoral research at the University of Utrecht (The Nertherlands) and the Hannah Research Institute (Ayr, UK). He is presently Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Madrid Complutense University. During the last years he has been mostly involved in the study of the molecular mechanisms of cannabinoid action in neural cells, with especial emphasis on the signaling pathways coupled to cannabinoid receptors, the impact of cannabinoids on the control of cell fate and the anti-tumoral activity of cannabinoid

Selected publications

Guzmán, M. (2003) Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents. Nat. Rev. Cancer 3, 745-755.
Fernández-Ruiz, J., Romero, J., Velasco, G., Tolón, R.M., Ramos, J.A. & Guzmán, M. (2007) Cannabinoid CB2 receptor: a new target for the control of neural cell survival? Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 28, 39-45.
Harkany, T. Guzmán, M., Galve-Roperh, I. Berghuis, P., Devi, L. & Mackie, K. (2007) The emerging functions of endocannabinoid signaling during CNS development. Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 28, 83-92.

G. Marsicano et O. Manzoni