The role of cannabinoid receptors in modulation of GABAergic neurotransmission in the rat medial entorhinal cortex in vitro

  • N.H. Morgan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R) have a well established role in
modulating GABAergic signalling with the central nervous system, and are
thought to be the only type present at GABAergic presynaptic terminals. In the
medial entorhinal cortex (mEC), some cortical layers show high levels of ongoing
GABAergic signalling (namely layer II) while others show relatively low levels
(layer V). Using whole-cell patch clamp techniques, I have, for the first time,
demonstrated the presence of functional CB1R in both deep and superficial layers
of the mEC. Furthermore, using a range of highly specific ligands for both CB1R
and CB2R, I present strong pharmacological evidence for CB2Rs being present in
both deep and superficial layers of the mEC in the adult rat brain.
In brain slices taken at earlier points in CNS development (P8-12), I have
shown that while both CB1R and CB2R specific ligands do modulate GABAergic
signalling at early developmental stages, antagonists/ inverse agonists and full
agonists have similar effects, and serve only to reduce GABAergic signalling.
These data suggest that the full cannabinoid signalling mechanisms at this early
stage in synaptogenesis are not yet in place. During these whole-cell studies, I
have developed and refined a novel recording technique, using an amantidine
derivative (IEM1460) which allows inhibitory postsynaptic currents to be recorded
under conditions in which glutamate receptors are not blocked and network
activity remains high.
Finally I have shown that bath applied CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonists/ inverse agonists are capable of modulating kainic acid induced persistent oscillatory activity in mEC. Inverse agonists suppressed oscillatory activity in the superficial layers of the mEC while it was enhanced in the deeper layers. It seems likely that cannabinoid receptors modulate the inhibitory neuronal activity that underlies network oscillations.
Date of AwardJun 2008
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGavin L Woodhall (Supervisor)


  • g-protein coupled receptors
  • temporal lobe
  • cannabis

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