The endocannabinoid system (eCB) is a ubiquitous lipid signaling system composed of at least two receptors, their endogenous ligands, and the enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation. Within the brain, the eCB system is highly expressed in the hippocampus and controls basic biological processes, including neuronal proliferation, migration and differentiation, which are intimately linked with embryonal neurogenesis. Accumulated preclinical evidence has indicated that eCBs play a major role also in regulating adult neurogenesis. Increased cannabinoid receptor activity, either by increased eCB content or by pharmacological blockade of their degradation, produces neurogenic effects alongside rescue of phenotypes in animal models of different psychiatric and neurological disorders. Therefore, in the light of the higher therapeutic potential of adult neurogenesis compared to the embryonic one, here we sought to summarize the most recent evidence pointing towards a neurogenic role for eCBs in the adult brain, both under normal and pathological conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery