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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2012 Jan;18 Suppl 1:S132-4. doi: 10.1016/S1353-8020(11)70041-4.

Endocannabinoids in striatal plasticity.

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Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are lipid metabolites found throughout the nervous system that modulate synaptic plasticity mainly via actions on the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor. Within the striatum, eCBs and CB1Rs initiate both short- and long-lasting synaptic depression at intrinsic GABAergic synapses and glutamatergic synapses made by cortical afferents. Recent studies have explored the mechanisms underlying eCB-mediated synaptic depression, and the role of this plasticity in striatal function. Dopamine (DA) and its receptors promote eCB-mediated depression of glutamatergic synapses, and dopamine depletion in animal models alters corticostriatal synapses in ways that may contribute to Parkinson's disease (PD). A growing body of literature indicates that alterations in eCB signaling occur in PD patients, suggesting possible therapeutic approaches targeting this neuromodulatory system.

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