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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2006 Oct;27(10):539-45. Epub 2006 Aug 21.

Role of the endocannabinoid system in depression and suicide.

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  • 1Division of Analytical Psychopharmacology, New York State Psychiatric Institute, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

Depression is one of the most prevalent forms of neuropsychiatric disorder and is a major cause of suicide worldwide. The prefrontal cortex is a crucial brain region that is thought to be involved in the regulation of mood, aggression and/or impulsivity and decision making, which are altered in suicidality. Evidence of the role of the endocannabinoid (EC) system in the neurobiology of neuropsychiatric disorders is beginning to emerge. The behavioral effects of ECs are believed to be mediated through the central cannabinoid CB1 receptor. Alterations in the levels of ECs, and in the density and coupling efficacy of CB1 receptors, have been reported in the prefrontal cortex of depressed and alcoholic suicide victims. These findings support our hypothesis that altered EC function contributes to the pathophysiological aspects of suicidal behavior. Here, we provide a brief overview of the role of the EC system in alcoholism, depression and suicide, and discuss possible therapeutic interventions and directions for future research.

PMID:
16919786
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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