A possible role for the endocannabinoid system in the neurobiology of depression

 Logo of clinprepi

“The present review synthetically describes the currently advanced hypotheses for a neurobiological basis of depression, ranging from the classical monoaminergic to the more recent neurotrophic hypothesis. Moreover, the Authors review the available preclinical and clinical evidence suggesting a possible role for the endocannabinoid system in the physiopathology of depression. Indeed, in spite of the reporting of conflicting results, the pharmacological enhancement of endocannabinoid activity at the CB1 cannabinoid receptor level appears to exert an antidepressant-like effect in some animal models of depression. On the contrary, a reduced activity of the endogenous cannabinoid system seems to be associated with the animal model of depression, namely the chronic mild stress model. Moreover, a few studies have reported an interaction of antidepressants with the endocannabinoid system. “

“The endocannabinoid system”

“A detailed description of the endocannabinoid system is beyond the scope of this paper. Thus, in this section we briefly describe those components of the endocannabinoid system that act as targets for the pharmacological interventions aimed at determining the activity of the endocannabinoid system.”

“The term “endocannabinoid system” refers to the recently discovered neuromodulator system comprising cannabinoid receptors (which represent the receptors of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active component of cannabis) and their endogenous ligands.”

“To date, two types of cannabinoid receptors have been identified: CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors belong to the superfamily of G protein coupled receptors, the CB1 receptor is widely distributed in the terminals of neurons, while the CB2 receptor is extensively expressed throughout the immune system. However, it has recently been reported that these receptors are present also in the brain.”

“No clinical trials carried out using cannabinoids in the treatment of affective disorders have been published to date, although anecdotal reports have described both antidepressant and antimanic properties of cannabis.”

“Indeed, pharmacological manipulations of the endocannabinoid system have elicited antidepressant-like effects in animal models of depression. Moreover, some animal models of depression seem to be associated to alterations in the endocannabinod system.”

“Although no clinical trials performed using cannabinoids in the treatment of affective disorders have been published to date, anecdotal reports have described both antidepressant and antimanic properties of cannabis”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2169225/

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous