CB1 cannabinoid receptors and on-demand defense against excitotoxicity

Giovanni Marsicano, Sharon Goodenough, Krisztina Monory, Heike Hermann, Matthias Eder, Astrid Cannich, Shahnaz C. Azad, Maria Grazia Cascio, Silvia Ortega-Gutiérrez, Mario Van der Stelt, Maria Luz López-Rodríguez, Emilio Casanova, Günther Schütz, Walter Zieglgänsberger, Vincenzo Di Marzo, Christian Behl, Beat Lutz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1046 Citations (Scopus)


Abnormally high spiking activity can damage neurons. Signaling systems to protect neurons from the consequences of abnormal discharge activity have been postulated. We generated conditional mutant mice that lack expression of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 in principal forebrain neurons but not in adjacent inhibitory interneurons. In mutant mice, the excitotoxin kainic acid (KA) induced excessive seizures in vivo. The threshold to KA-induced neuronal excitation in vitro was severely reduced in hippocampal pyramidal neurons of mutants. KA administration raised hippocampal levels of anandamide and induced protective mechanisms in wild-type principal hippocampal neurons. These protective mechanisms could not be triggered in mutant mice. The endogenous cannabinoid system thus provides on-demand protection against acute excitotoxicity in central nervous system neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-88
Number of pages5
Issue number5642
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2003


Dive into the research topics of 'CB1 cannabinoid receptors and on-demand defense against excitotoxicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this