Brain's cannabinoid system fights seizures

Aug 17, 2006

A German-led study shows the brain area that responds to the active chemical in marijuana also provides central "on-demand" protection against seizures.

Beat Lutz and Giovanni Marsicano of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich and Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz say their discoveries suggest the "endocannabinoid" system might constitute a prime target for drugs against seizures of epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The endocannabinoid system, which includes the receptors, the natural cannabinoid compounds that trigger them, as well as the machinery for regulating the process, was known to modulate the excitation of neuronal transmission, noted the researchers. However, it had not been established that such modulation might affect neurons in the hippocampus responsible for the "excitotoxicity" that underlies the uncontrolled activity of seizures.

The researchers say their experiments prove endocannabinoid receptors are also present in the same glutamatergic neurons in areas of the hippocampus known to be central to seizure generation. The scientists say that finding "represents a novel step in understanding the progression of acute excitotoxic seizures and the development of epileptic states."

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Neuron.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Greenland darkening to continue, predicts CCNY expert Marco Tedesco

Related Stories

European physicist discusses Higgs boson at Brown University

5 hours ago

The head of the European Organization for Nuclear Research says the historic 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle and the particle accelerator that detected it are getting scientists closer to understanding the creation ...

IBM earnings dip as sales fall again

5 hours ago

Technology heavyweight IBM reported Monday lower profits in the first quarter following another drop in revenues, this time partly due to the strong dollar.

Recommended for you

Patients grapple with high cost of arthritis medications

1 hour ago

The first national investigation of Medicare coverage of biologic disease modifying drugs (DMARDs) found that in starting a single biologic DMARD, patients face more than $2,700 in copayments each year before receiving relief ...

UK doctors unlikely to be able to repay student loans

7 hours ago

UK doctors are unlikely to be able to repay their student loans over the course of their working lives, amassing debts of more than £80,000 by the time they graduate, in some cases, finds research published in the online ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.