Fine-tuning of synaptic upscaling at excitatory synapses by endocannabinoid signaling is mediated via the CB1 receptor

Yunping Song, Jian Zhang, Chu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) functions as a retrograde signaling molecule mediating synaptic transmission and plasticity at both inhibitory and excitatory synapses. However, little is known about whether 2-AG signaling is involved in homeostatic regulation of miniature synaptic events at excitatory synapses in response to activity deprivation. Here, we report that chronic blockade of firing by tetrodotoxin (TTX) for two days resulted in increases both in the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) in cultured mouse hippocampal neurons. However, treatment with 2-AG alone or JZL184, a potent and selective inhibitor for monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) that hydrolyzes 2-AG, induced a CB1 receptor-dependent reduction of the frequency of mEPSCs, but not the amplitude. The TTX-increased frequency was blunted by 2-AG or JZL184 and this effect was eliminated by pharmacological or genetic inhibition of CB1 receptors. In addition, TTX still increased frequency and amplitude of mEPSCs in the presence of CB1 receptor inhibition. Our results suggest that while endocannabinoids are not required for induction of synaptic scaling at excitatory glutamate synapses after chronic activity deprivation, 2-AG signaling may play a role in fine-tuning of synaptic strengths via presynaptically-expressed CB1 receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16257
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Nov 6 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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