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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 5; doi:10.3390/ijerph13010005

Cellular Mechanisms of Action of Drug Abuse on Olfactory Neurons

Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mark Edberg, Barbara E. Hayes, Valerie Montgomery Rice and Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 24 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 22 December 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [992 KB, uploaded 22 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Cannabinoids (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) are the active ingredient of marijuana (cannabis) which is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the USA. In addition to being known and used as recreational drugs, cannabinoids are produced endogenously by neurons in the brain (endocannabinoids) and serve as important signaling molecules in the nervous system and the rest of the body. Cannabinoids have been implicated in bodily processes both in health and disease. Recent pharmacological and physiological experiments have described novel aspects of classic brain signaling mechanisms or revealed unknown mechanisms of cellular communication involving the endocannabinoid system. While several forms of signaling have been described for endocannabinoids, the most distinguishing feature of endocannabinoids is their ability to act as retrograde messengers in neural circuits. Neurons in the main olfactory bulb express high levels of cannabinoid receptors. Here, we describe the cellular mechanisms and function of this novel brain signaling system in regulating neural activity at synapses in olfactory circuits. Results from basic research have the potential to provide the groundwork for translating the neurobiology of drug abuse to the realm of the pharmacotherapeutic treatment of addiction, specifically marijuana substance use disorder. View Full-Text
Keywords: brain; cannabinoid; central nervous system; drug abuse; drug addiction; electrophysiology; health disparity; marijuana; neuroscience; olfaction brain; cannabinoid; central nervous system; drug abuse; drug addiction; electrophysiology; health disparity; marijuana; neuroscience; olfaction
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Heinbockel, T.; Wang, Z.-J. Cellular Mechanisms of Action of Drug Abuse on Olfactory Neurons. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 5.

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