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The localization and physiological effects of cannabinoid receptor 1 in the brain stem auditory system of the chick

The localization and physiological effects of cannabinoid receptor 1 in the brain stem auditory system of the chick

Neuroscience 194: 150-159

Fast, temporally-precise, and consistent synaptic transmission is required to encode features of acoustic stimuli. Neurons of nucleus magnocellularis (NM) in the auditory brain stem of the chick possess numerous adaptations to optimize the coding of temporal information. One potential problem for the system is the depression of synaptic transmission during a prolonged stimulus. The present study tested the hypothesis that cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) signaling may limit synaptic depression at the auditory nerve-NM synapse. In situ hybridization was used to confirm that CB1 mRNA is expressed in the cochlear ganglion; immunohistochemistry was used to confirm the presence of CB1 protein in NM. These findings are consistent with the common presynaptic locus of CB1 in the brain. Rate-dependent synaptic depression was then examined in a brain slice preparation before and after administration of WIN 55,212-2 (WIN), a potent CB1 agonist. WIN decreased the amplitude of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) and also reduced depression across a train of stimuli. The effect was most obvious late in the pulse train and during high rates of stimulation. This CB1-mediated influence could allow for lower, but more consistent activation of NM neurons, which could be of importance for optimizing the coding of prolonged, temporally-locked acoustic stimuli.

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Accession: 056397199

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PMID: 21703331

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.05.061

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