Inhibitory neurotransmission drives endocannabinoid degradation to promote memory consolidation

Christophe J. Dubois, Jessica Fawcett-Patel, Paul A. Katzman & Siqiong June Liu
Nature Communications. 2020-12-17; 11(6407):
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20121-3

Endocannabinoids retrogradely regulate synaptic transmission and their abundance is controlled by the fine balance between endocannabinoid synthesis and degradation. While the common assumption is that “on-demand” release determines endocannabinoid signaling, their rapid degradation is expected to control the temporal profile of endocannabinoid action and may impact neuronal signaling. Here we show that memory formation through fear conditioning selectively accelerates the degradation of endocannabinoids in the cerebellum. Learning induced a lasting increase in GABA release and this was responsible for driving the change in endocannabinoid degradation. Conversely, Gq-DREADD activation of cerebellar Purkinje cells enhanced endocannabinoid signaling and impaired memory consolidation. Our findings identify a previously unappreciated reciprocal interaction between GABA and the endocannabinoid system in which GABA signaling accelerates endocannabinoid degradation, and triggers a form of learning-induced metaplasticity.

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus