Endocannabinoid functions controlling neuronal specification during brain development

Tibor Harkany, Erik Keimpema, Klaudia Barabas, Jan Mulder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

136 Citations (Scopus)


Enclocannabinoids (eCBs) regulate a broad range of physiological functions in the postnatal brain and are implicated in the neuropathogenesis of psychiatric and metabolic diseases. Accumulating evidence indicates that eCB signaling also serves key functions during neurodevelopment; and is inherently involved in the control of neurogenesis, neural progenitor proliferation, lineage segregation, and the migration and phenotypic specification of immature neurons. Recent advances in developmental biology define fundamental eCB-driven cellular mechanisms that also contribute to our understanding of the molecular substrates of prenatal drug, in particular cannabis, actions. Here, we summarize known organizing principles of eCB-signaling systems in the developing telencephalon, and outline the sequence of decision points and underlying signaling pathways upon CB1 cannabinoid receptor activation that contribute to neuronal diversification in the developing brain. Finally, we discuss how these novel principles affect the formation of complex neuronal networks. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S84-S90
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2 Suppl. 1
Early online date4 Mar 2008
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2008


  • brain development
  • embryo
  • interneuron
  • lineage
  • pyramidal cell
  • synapse
  • CB1 cannabinoid receptor
  • acid amide hydrolase
  • protein-coupled receptor
  • hydrolyzing phospholipase-D
  • signal-regulated kinase
  • rat-brain
  • molecular characterization
  • constitutive endocytopsis
  • endogenous cannabinoids
  • glutamatergic synapses


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