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Functional Redundancy Between Canonical Endocannabinoid Signaling Systems in the Modulation of Anxiety

  • Gaurav Bedse
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Nolan D. Hartley
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Emily Neale
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Andrew D. Gaulden
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Toni A. Patrick
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Philip J. Kingsley
    Affiliations
    Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Md. Jashim Uddin
    Affiliations
    Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Niels Plath
    Affiliations
    Department of H. Lundbeck A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Lawrence J. Marnett
    Affiliations
    Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Sachin Patel
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Medical Research Building IV, Room 8425B, 2213 Garland Avenue, Nashville, TN 37232; .
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

    Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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      Abstract

      Background

      Increasing the available repertoire of effective treatments for mood and anxiety disorders represents a critical unmet need. Pharmacological augmentation of endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) signaling has been suggested to represent a novel approach to the treatment of anxiety disorders; however, the functional interactions between two canonical eCB pathways mediated via anandamide (N-arachidonylethanolamine [AEA]) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the regulation of anxiety are not well understood.

      Methods

      We utilized pharmacological augmentation and depletion combined with behavioral and electrophysiological approaches to probe the role of 2-AG signaling in the modulation of stress-induced anxiety and the functional redundancy between AEA and 2-AG signaling in the modulation of anxiety-like behaviors in mice.

      Results

      Selective 2-AG augmentation reduced anxiety in the light/dark box assay and prevented stress-induced increases in anxiety associated with limbic AEA deficiency. In contrast, acute 2-AG depletion increased anxiety-like behaviors, which was normalized by selective pharmacological augmentation of AEA signaling and via direct cannabinoid receptor 1 stimulation with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Electrophysiological studies revealed 2-AG modulation of amygdala glutamatergic transmission as a key synaptic correlate of the anxiolytic effects of 2-AG augmentation.

      Conclusions

      Although AEA and 2-AG likely subserve distinct physiological roles, a pharmacological and functional redundancy between these canonical eCB signaling pathways exists in the modulation of anxiety-like behaviors. These data support development of eCB-based treatment approaches for mood and anxiety disorders and suggest a potentially wider therapeutic overlap between AEA and 2-AG augmentation approaches than was previously appreciated.

      Keywords

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