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Neurobiology of cannabinoid receptor signaling

Authors
  • Lutz, Beat
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Publisher
Les Laboratoires Servier
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2020
Volume
22
Issue
3
Pages
207–222
Identifiers
DOI: 10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.3/blutz
PMID: 33162764
PMCID: PMC7605026
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • State of the Art
License
Green

Abstract

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a highly versatile signaling system within the nervous system. Despite its widespread localization, its functions within the context of distinct neural processes are very well discernable and specific. This is remarkable, and the question remains as to how such specificity is achieved. One key player in the ECS is the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1), a G protein–coupled receptor characterized by the complexity of its cell-specific expression, cellular and subcellular localization, and its adaptable regulation of intracellular signaling cascades. CB1 receptors are involved in different synaptic and cellular plasticity processes and in the brain’s bioenergetics in a context-specific manner. CB2 receptors are also important in several processes in neurons, glial cells, and immune cells of the brain. As polymorphisms in ECS components, as well as external impacts such as stress and metabolic challenges, can both lead to dysregulated ECS activity and subsequently to possible neuropsychiatric disorders, pharmacological intervention targeting the ECS is a promising therapeutic approach. Understanding the neurobiology of cannabinoid receptor signaling in depth will aid optimal design of therapeutic interventions, minimizing unwanted side effects.

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