[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system by exogenous cannabinoids (drug abuse) can alter the physiology of the brain circuits involved in higher-order cognitive functions such as the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). A proper balance between excitation and inhibition (E/I balance) is critical for neuronal network oscillations underlying cognitive functions. Since type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs), expressed in many brain areas including the mPFC, can modulate excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, we aimed to determine whether CB1R activation results in modifications of the E/I balance. We first confirm the presence of functional presynaptic CB1Rs that can modulate both excitatory and inhibitory inputs to layer II/III pyramidal neurons of the prelimbic (PL) area of the mPFC. By decomposing the synaptic response evoked by layer I stimulation into its excitatory and inhibitory components, we show that in vitro CB1R activation with the cannabinoid receptor agonists WIN55,212-2 (WIN) and CP-55940 (CP) modulates the balance between excitation and inhibition (E/I balance) of layer II/III pyramidal neurons. This treatment caused a significant shift of the E/I balance towards excitation, from 18/82 % to 25/75 % (WIN) and from 17/83 to 30/70 % (CP). Finally, when animals were injected with a cannabinoid receptor agonist, we observed a shift of the E/I balance (measured in vitro) towards excitation 1 h after WIN (24/76 %) or after CP injection (30/70 %) when compared to vehicle-injected animals (18/82 %). This modulation of the E/I balance by CB1Rs may thus be fundamental in the regulation of local PL cortical network excitability and could be the mechanism through which excessive CB1R activation (cannabis abuse) affects cognitive functions.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endocannabinoid (eCB) system is widely expressed throughout the central nervous system (CNS) and the functionality of type-1 cannabinoid receptors in neurons is well documented. In contrast, there is little knowledge about type-2 cannabinoid receptors (CB(2)Rs) in the CNS. Here, we show that CB(2)Rs are located intracellularly in layer II/III pyramidal cells of the rodent medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and that their activation results in IP(3)R-dependent opening of Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) channels. To investigate the functional role of CB(2)R activation, we induced neuronal firing and observed a CB(2)R-mediated reduction in firing frequency. The description of this unique CB(2)R-mediated signaling pathway, controlling neuronal excitability, broadens our knowledge of the influence of the eCB system on brain function.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences