Cannabinoids pp 367-383

Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 168) | Cite as

Retrograde Signalling by Endocannabinoids

  • C. W. Vaughan
  • M. J. Christie

Abstract

The cannabinoid neurotransmitter system comprises cannabinoid G protein-coupled membrane receptors (CB1 and CB2), endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), as well as mechanisms for their synthesis, membrane transport and metabolism. Within the brain the marijuana constituent Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produces its pharmacological actions by acting on cannabinoid CB1 receptors. THC modulates neuronal excitability by inhibiting synaptic transmission via presynaptic CB1-mediated mechanisms. More recently, it has been established that physiological stimulation of neurons can induce the synthesis of endocannabinoids, which also modulate synaptic transmission via cannabinoid CB1 and other receptor systems. These endogenously synthesised endocannabinoids appear to act as retrograde signalling agents, reducing synaptic inputs onto the stimulated neuron in a highly selective and restricted manner. In this review we describe the cellular mechanisms underlying retrograde endocannabinoid signalling.

Keywords

Endocannabinoid Synaptic transmission Retrograde signalling TRP mGluR 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. W. Vaughan
    • 1
  • M. J. Christie
    • 1
  1. 1.Pain Management Research Institute, Northern Clinical SchoolUniversity of Sydney at Royal North Shore HospitalSydneyAustralia

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