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Nat Neurosci. 2011 Nov 6;14(12):1542-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.2974.

Polymodal activation of the endocannabinoid system in the extended amygdala.

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INSERM U862, Physiopathology of Synaptic Plasticity, Neurocentre Magendie, Bordeaux Cedex, France.


The reason why neurons synthesize more than one endocannabinoid (eCB) and how this is involved in the regulation of synaptic plasticity in a single neuron is not known. We found that 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide mediate different forms of plasticity in the extended amygdala of rats. Dendritic L-type Ca(2+) channels and the subsequent release of 2-AG acting on presynaptic CB1 receptors triggered retrograde short-term depression. Long-term depression was mediated by postsynaptic mGluR5-dependent release of anandamide acting on postsynaptic TRPV1 receptors. In contrast, 2-AG/CB1R-mediated retrograde signaling mediated both forms of plasticity in the striatum. These data illustrate how the eCB system can function as a polymodal signal integrator to allow the diversification of synaptic plasticity in a single neuron.

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