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Nat Neurosci. 2002 May;5(5):446-51.

Postsynaptic endocannabinoid release is critical to long-term depression in the striatum.

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Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-0615, USA.


The striatum functions critically in movement control and habit formation. The development and function of cortical input to the striatum are thought to be regulated by activity-dependent plasticity of corticostriatal glutamatergic synapses. Here we show that the induction of a form of striatal synaptic plasticity, long-term depression (LTD), is dependent on activation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor. LTD was facilitated by blocking cellular endocannabinoid uptake, and postsynaptic loading of anandamide (AEA) produced presynaptic depression. The endocannabinoid necessary for striatal LTD is thus likely to be released postsynaptically as a retrograde messenger. These findings demonstrate a new role for endocannabinoids in the induction of long-term synaptic plasticity in a circuit necessary for habit formation and motor control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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