Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Brain Cells Implicated In Machinery Of Cannabinoid Signaling

Date:
March 27, 2008
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
The brain cells called astrocytes, and not just neurons, are sensitive to the substances called cannabinoids -- the active chemicals in marijuana. The researchers said their findings could aid in development of treatments for cannabinoid drug abuse.

The brain cells called astrocytes, and not just neurons, are sensitive to the substances called cannabinoids--the active chemicals in marijuana.

The researchers said their findings could aid in development of treatments for cannabinoid drug abuse. Also, because so-called "endocannabinoids" produced by brain cells are involved in the neural machinery of pain perception and learning and memory, the findings could help in understanding those processes, said the researchers. Marta Navarrete and Alfonso Araque published their findings in the March 27, 2008, issue of the journal Neuron.

Astrocytes do not transmit nerve impulses, as do neurons. Rather, they provide neurons with support and nutrition and modulate signaling among neurons.

In their experiments with mouse brain slices, Navarrete and Araque sought to establish the role that cannabinoid receptors on astrocytes--which previous studies had indicated to exist--played in astrocyte function. Receptors are proteins that rest in the membranes of cells and that are triggered by specific chemicals, like a key fitting a lock. That triggering activates a cellular response.

The researchers' electrophysiological and imaging studies showed that astrocytes do express endocannabinoid receptors that, when activated, produce a cellular response. They also found that neurons associated with the astrocytes release endocannabinoids that trigger an astrocyte response. Finally, they also showed that this response in astrocytes can, in turn, activate neurons to release the neurotransmitter glutamate, which mediates signaling among neurons.

Navarrete and Araque concluded that "These results indicate that neurons and astrocytes communicate via endocannabinoid signaling and suggest the existence of intercellular communication pathways mediated by endocannabinoid-glutamate signaling where astrocytes serve as a bridge for interneuronal communication."

The researchers also concluded that their findings identify astrocytes "as cellular elements possibly involved in the physiology of cannabinoid addiction as well as potential targets for the treatment of cannabinoid-related drug abuse. Furthermore, considering the importance of the endocannabinoid-mediated intercellular signaling in numerous processes of the nervous system, such as pain perception or learning and memory, present findings indicate that astrocytes may be actively involved in relevant phenomena of brain physiology.

The researchers include Marta Navarrete and Alfonso Araque, of the Instituto Cajal, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid, Spain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "New Brain Cells Implicated In Machinery Of Cannabinoid Signaling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080326121235.htm>.
Cell Press. (2008, March 27). New Brain Cells Implicated In Machinery Of Cannabinoid Signaling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080326121235.htm
Cell Press. "New Brain Cells Implicated In Machinery Of Cannabinoid Signaling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080326121235.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins