Alcohol Res. 2022 Jan 27;42(1):03. doi: 10.35946/arcr.v42.1.03. eCollection 2022.


PURPOSE: A growing body of evidence has implicated the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in the acute, chronic, and withdrawal effects of alcohol/ethanol on synaptic function. These eCB-mediated synaptic effects may contribute to the development of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcohol exposure causes neurobiological alterations similar to those elicited by chronic cannabinoid (CB) exposure. Like alcohol, cannabinoids alter many central processes, such as cognition, locomotion, synaptic transmission, and neurotransmitter release. There is a strong need to elucidate the effects of ethanol on the eCB system in different brain regions to understand the role of eCB signaling in AUD.

SEARCH METHODS: For the scope of this review, preclinical studies were identified through queries of the PubMed database.

SEARCH RESULTS: This search yielded 459 articles. Clinical studies and papers irrelevant to the topic of this review were excluded.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The endocannabinoid system includes, but is not limited to, cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1), among the most abundantly expressed neuronal receptors in the brain; cannabinoid receptors 2 (CB2); and endogenously formed CB1 ligands, including arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA; anandamide), and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The development of specific CB1 agonists, such as WIN 55,212-2 (WIN), and antagonists, such as SR 141716A (rimonabant), provide powerful pharmacological tools for eCB research. Alcohol exposure has brain region-specific effects on the eCB system, including altering the synthesis of endocannabinoids (e.g., AEA, 2-AG), the synthesis of their precursors, and the density and coupling efficacy of CB1. These alcohol-induced alterations of the eCB system have subsequent effects on synaptic function including neuronal excitability and postsynaptic conductance. This review will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the current literature on the synaptic interactions of alcohol exposure and eCB signaling systems, with an emphasis on molecular and physiological synaptic effects of alcohol on the eCB system. A limited volume of studies has focused on the underlying interactions of alcohol and the eCB system at the synaptic level in the brain. Thus, the data on synaptic interactions are sparse, and future research addressing these interactions is much needed.

PMID:35223337 | PMC:PMC8843413 | DOI:10.35946/arcr.v42.1.03

Source: ncbi 2

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