Dopaminergic modulation of endocannabinoid-mediated plasticity at GABAergic synapses in the prefrontal cortex

Chiayu Q. Chiu, Nagore Puente, Pedro Grandes, Pablo E. Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Similar to dopamine (DA), cannabinoids strongly influence prefrontal cortical functions, such as working memory, emotional learning, and sensory perception. Although endogenous cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs) are abundantly expressed in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), very little is known about endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling in this brain region. Recent behavioral and electrophysiological evidence has suggested a functional interplay between the dopamine and cannabinoid receptor systems, although the cellular mechanisms underlying this interaction remain to be elucidated. We examined this issue by combining neuroanatomical and electrophysiological techniques in PFC of rats and mice (both genders). Using immunoelectron microscopy, we show that CB 1Rs and dopamine type 2 receptors (D2Rs) colocalize at terminals of symmetrical, presumably GABAergic, synapses in the PFC. Indeed, activation of either receptor can suppress GABA release onto layer 5 pyramidal cells. Furthermore, coactivation of both receptors via repetitive afferent stimulation triggers eCB-mediated long-term depression of inhibitory transmission (I-LTD). This I-LTD is heterosynaptic in nature, requiring glutamate release to activate group I metabotropic glutamate receptors. D 2Rs most likely facilitate eCB signaling at the presynaptic site as disrupting postsynaptic D2R signaling does not diminish I-LTD. Facilitation of eCB-LTD may be one mechanism by which DA modulates neuronal activity in the PFC and regulates PFC-mediated behavior in vivo. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7236-7248
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 26 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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