Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci. 2006 Jun 14;26(24):6458-68.

Cannabinoids Potentiate Emotional Learning Plasticity in Neurons of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex through Basolateral Amygdala Inputs.

Author information

Departments of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


Cannabinoids represent one of the most commonly used hallucinogenic drug classes. In addition, cannabis use is a primary risk factor for schizophrenia in susceptible individuals and can potently modulate the emotional salience of sensory stimuli. We report that systemic activation or blockade of cannabinoid CB1 receptors modulates emotional associative learning and memory formation in a subpopulation of neurons in the mammalian medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) that receives functional input from the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Using in vivo single-unit recordings in rats, we found that a CB1 receptor agonist potentiated the response of medial prefrontal cortical neurons to olfactory cues paired previously with a footshock, whereas this associative responding was prevented by a CB1 receptor antagonist. In an olfactory fear-conditioning procedure, CB1 agonist microinfusions into the mPFC enabled behavioral responses to olfactory cues paired with normally subthreshold footshock, whereas the antagonist completely blocked emotional learning. These results are the first demonstration that cannabinoid signaling in the mPFC can modulate the magnitude of neuronal emotional learning plasticity and memory formation through functional inputs from the BLA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center