Astroglial CB1 receptors, energy metabolism, and gliotransmission: an integrated signaling system?
Essays in Biochemistry. 2023-01-16; :
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Astrocytes are key players in brain homeostasis and function. During the last years, several studies have cemented this notion by showing that these cells respond to neuronal signals and, via the release of molecules that modulate and support synaptic activity (gliotransmission) participates in the functions of the so-called tripartite synapse. Thus, besides their established control of brain metabolism, astrocytes can also actively control synaptic activity and behavior. Among the signaling pathways that shape the functions of astrocyte, the cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptor is emerging as a critical player in the control of both gliotransmission and the metabolic cooperation between astrocytes and neurons. In the present short review, we describe known and newly discovered properties of the astroglial CB1 receptors and their role in modulating brain function and behavior. Based on this evidence, we finally discuss how the functions and mode of actions of astrocyte CB1 receptors might represent a clear example of the inextricable relationship between energy metabolism and gliotransmission. These tight interactions will need to be taken into account for future research in astrocyte functions and call for a reinforcement of the theoretical and experimental bridges between studies on metabolic and synaptic functions of astrocytes.