Cell type specific impact of cannabinoid receptor signaling in somatosensory barrel map formation in mice

J Comp Neurol. 2020 Jan 1;528(1):3-13. doi: 10.1002/cne.24733. Epub 2019 Jul 1.


Endocannabinoids and their receptors are highly abundant in the developing cerebral cortex and play major roles in early developmental processes, for example, neuronal proliferation, migration, and axonal guidance as well as postnatal plasticity. To investigate the role of the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) in the formation of sensory maps in the cerebral cortex, the topographic representation of the whiskers in the primary somatosensory cortex (barrel field) of adult mice with different cell type specific genetic deletion of CB1 was studied. A constitutive absence of CB1 (CB1-KO) significantly decreased the total area of the somatosensory cortical map, affecting barrel, and septal areas. Cell specific CB1 deletion in dorsal telencephalic glutamatergic neurons only (Glu-CB1-KO) or in both glutamatergic and forebrain GABAergic neurons (Glu/GABA-CB1-KO) resulted in an increased septa area in the barrel field map. No significant modifications in area parameters could be observed in GABA-CB1-KO mice. These data demonstrate that CB1 signaling especially in cortical glutamatergic neurons is essential for the development of topographic maps in the cerebral cortex.

Keywords: CB1 receptor; GABAergic neurons; RRID: SCR 003070; RRID: SCR_014199; RRID:SCR_002798; barrel cortex; cortical map; endocannabinoids; glutamatergic neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't