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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2006;29:37-76.

Endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity in the CNS.

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Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Changes in synaptic efficacy are thought to be crucial to experience-dependent modifications of neural function. The diversity of mechanisms underlying these changes is far greater than previously expected. In the last five years, a new class of use-dependent synaptic plasticity that requires retrograde signaling by endocannabinoids (eCB) and presynaptic CB1 receptor activation has been identified in several brain structures. eCB-mediated plasticity encompasses many forms of transient and long-lasting synaptic depression and is found at both excitatory and inhibitory synapses. In addition, eCBs can modify the inducibility of non-eCB-mediated forms of plasticity. Thus, the eCB system is emerging as a major player in synaptic plasticity. Given the wide distribution of CB1 receptors in the CNS, the list of brain structures and synapses expressing eCB-mediated plasticity is likely to expand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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