Distinct cannabinoid sensitive receptors regulate hippocampal excitation and inhibition

Chem Phys Lipids. 2002 Dec 31;121(1-2):73-82. doi: 10.1016/s0009-3084(02)00149-4.


One of the well-known effects of cannabinoids is the impairment of cognitive processes, including short-term memory formation, by altering hippocampal and neocortical functions reflected in network activity. Acting on presynaptically located G protein-coupled receptors in the hippocampus, cannabinoids modulate the release of neurotransmitter molecules. CB1 cannabinoid receptors, so far the only cloned cannabinoid receptor type in the CNS, are selectively expressed on the axon terminals of a subset of GABAergic inhibitory interneurons containing the neuropeptide cholecystokinin. Activation of CB1 receptors reduces GABA release from presynaptic terminals, thereby increasing the excitability of principal cells. Novel, non-CB1 cannabinoid sensitive receptors are present on the hippocampal excitatory axon terminals, which suppress glutamate release. These cannabinoid receptors have distinct pharmacological features compared to CB1, i.e. WIN 55212-2 is an order of magnitude less potent in reducing glutamatergic transmission than in inhibiting GABAergic postsynaptic currents, and the novel receptor binds vanilloid receptor ligands. Thus, at least two different cannabinoid sensitive presynaptic receptors regulate network activity in the hippocampus, CB1 via the GABAergic interneurons, and a new receptor via a direct action on pyramidal cell axon terminals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / drug effects
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Naphthalenes / pharmacology
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / physiology*
  • Receptors, GABA / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glutamate / drug effects
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Benzoxazines
  • Cannabinoids
  • Morpholines
  • Naphthalenes
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug
  • Receptors, GABA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • (3R)-((2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-((4-morpholinyl)methyl)pyrrolo-(1,2,3-de)-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl)(1-naphthalenyl))methanone