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Roles of the Endocannabinoid System in Learning and Memory

  • Giovanni MarsicanoEmail author
  • Pauline Lafenêtre
Chapter
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 1)

Abstract

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a central role in the regulation of learning and memory processes. The fine-tuned regulation of neural transmission by the system is likely to be the mechanism underlying this important function. In this chapter, we review the data in the literature showing the direct involvement of the physiological activation of cannabinoid receptors in the modulation of different forms of learning and memory. When possible, we also address the likely mechanisms of this involvement. Finally, given the apparent special role of the ECS in the extinction of fear, we propose a reasonable model to assess how neuronal networks could be influenced by the endocannabinoids in these processes. Overall, the data reviewed indicate that, despite the enormous progress of recent years, much is still to be done to fully elucidate the mechanisms of the ECS influence on learning and memory processes.

Keywords

Learning and memory Endocannabinoid system CB1 receptors Extinction Amygdala Model 

Abbreviations

AEA

Anandamide

BA

Basal nucleus of the amygdala

BLA

Basolateral amygdala

CaMKII

Calcium/calmodulin protein kinase II

CE

Central nucleus of the amygdale

CR

Conditioned response

CS

Conditioned stimulus

DSI

Depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition

ECS

Endocannabinoid system

FAAH

Fatty acid amide hydrolase

GPCR

G protein-coupled receptor

ICM

Intercalated cell masses

LA

Lateral nucleus of the amygdala

LTP

Long-term synaptic potentiation

PFC

Prefrontal cortex

PI3K

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase

THC

Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol

US

Unconditioned stimulus

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Group Molecular Mechanisms of Behavioural AdaptationResearch Centre INSERM U862 NeuroCentre Magendie Université Bordeaux 2BordeauxFrance

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