Calcium and endocannabinoids in the modulation of inhibitory synaptic transmission

Cell Calcium. 2005 May;37(5):497-505. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2005.01.020.


Synapses in the central nervous system can be highly plastic devices, being able to modify their efficacy in relaying information in response to several factors. Calcium ions are often fundamental in triggering synaptic plasticity. Here, we will shortly review the effects induced by postsynaptic increases of calcium concentration at GABAergic and glycinergic synapses. Both postsynaptic and presynaptic mechanisms mediating changes in synaptic strength will be examined. Particular attention will be devoted to phenomena of retrograde signaling and, specifically, to the recently discovered role, played by the endocannabinoid system in retrograde synaptic modulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / metabolism*
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / pharmacology
  • Endocannabinoids*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Receptors, GABA / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors, GABA
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Calcium