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Positron Emission Tomography Studies on Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 in Schizophrenia

  • Yoan Mihov
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Yoan Mihov, Dipl.-Psych., Division of Molecular Psychiatry, Translational Research Center, University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Bolligenstrasse 111, 3000 Bern, Switzerland;
    Affiliations
    Division of Molecular Psychiatry, Translational Research Center, University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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      A recent issue of Biological Psychiatry titled “Cannabinoids and Psychotic Disorders” offered insights into a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary research field. One of the many important discoveries highlighted in that issue is the involvement of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) in a synaptic retrograde signaling mechanism that controls gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate release, regulates brain oscillatory activity, and contributes to the maturation of neural networks (
      • Skosnik P.D.
      • Cortes-Briones J.A.
      • Hajos M.
      It’s all in the rhythm: The role of cannabinoids in neural oscillations and psychosis.
      ,
      • Volk D.W.
      • Lewis D.A.
      The role of endocannabinoid signaling in cortical inhibitory neuron dysfunction in schizophrenia.
      ). Evidence of impairment in these processes in schizophrenia suggests a role for CB1R. Postmortem investigations have yielded a complex pattern of findings, with increased CB1R binding and decreased CB1R messenger RNA and protein levels in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia (
      • Volk D.W.
      • Lewis D.A.
      The role of endocannabinoid signaling in cortical inhibitory neuron dysfunction in schizophrenia.
      ). To investigate CB1R in vivo, three positron emission tomography (PET) studies so far have compared subjects with schizophrenia with healthy control subjects (
      • Ranganathan M.
      • Cortes-Briones J.
      • Radhakrishnan R.
      • Thurnauer H.
      • Planeta B.
      • Skosnik P.
      • et al.
      Reduced brain cannabinoid receptor availability in schizophrenia.
      ,
      • Wong D.F.
      • Kuwabara H.
      • Horti A.G.
      • Raymont V.
      • Brasic J.
      • Guevara M.
      • et al.
      Quantification of cerebral cannabinoid receptors subtype 1 (CB1) in healthy subjects and schizophrenia by the novel PET radioligand [11C]OMAR.
      ,
      • Ceccarini J.
      • De Hert M.
      • Van Winkel R.
      • Peuskens J.
      • Bormans G.
      • Kranaster L.
      • et al.
      Increased ventral striatal CB1 receptor binding is related to negative symptoms in drug-free patients with schizophrenia.
      ), with the most recent one published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry (
      • Ranganathan M.
      • Cortes-Briones J.
      • Radhakrishnan R.
      • Thurnauer H.
      • Planeta B.
      • Skosnik P.
      • et al.
      Reduced brain cannabinoid receptor availability in schizophrenia.
      ). A prior report on the feasibility of CB1R imaging with the radiotracer [124I]AM281 is not discussed here because it included only one participant, a patient with schizophrenia [cited in Ceccarini et al. (
      • Ceccarini J.
      • De Hert M.
      • Van Winkel R.
      • Peuskens J.
      • Bormans G.
      • Kranaster L.
      • et al.
      Increased ventral striatal CB1 receptor binding is related to negative symptoms in drug-free patients with schizophrenia.
      )].
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