The Endocannabinoid System in the Developing Brain | cannabisMD

The Endocannabinoid System in the Developing Brain

Endocannabinoid System an the brain

Image Credit: Romanova Natali on Shutterstock

Endocannabinoids are well known in their modulatory role of the nervous system in adult brains but their role in “progenitor” neural cells, or the cells that go on to form neurons and other neural cells, has not been so well explored. The CB1 receptor is found to be activated in progenitor postnatal glial cells and adult nestin type I cells.

When mice have their CB1 receptors knocked out, the proliferation of progenitor and glial cells in postnatal mice brains does not function adequately and is impaired. A similar effect is found in adult mouse brains, when they do not have the CB1 receptor, the differentiation of their neural progenitor cells is different.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

This implies a strong role of the endocannabinoid system in the growth and development of the brain and nervous system, and present a new family of signaling pathways for the exploration and treatment of neurological conditions. The endocannabinoid system is involved with the proper growth of both neonatal and adult brains.

The impact of knocking out the CB1 receptor in mice has been shown in the past to have impacts on the neural development of brains; here, the possible mechanisms by which this effect is achieved are explored. Neural neogenesis is essential for healthy growth and maintenance of brains. The CB1 receptor is shown here to play a short term role in how the progenitor cells differentiate into mature neural cells of several kinds.

Both neurons and glia are affected in both the growth of neonatal mouse brains and in adult mouse brains, suggesting that the ECS is important for helping the brain form and then for the trimming and refining of the brain thereafter.

The neurogenesis observed by other teams of scientists has now got a partial explanation and a definite avenue for further research into the formation and maintenance of brains. The ECS is conserved between mice and humans, and so implies that these systems will work similarly in the human brain.

Healthy Brains Require Proper NP Functioning

Without neural progenitor cells, the brain could not form. They are modulated by a complex system of chemical and electrical signals that are not well understood. However, CB1 receptors are now known to play a significant role.

When the brain is growing, maintaining itself, or repairing itself, it relies in part on the ECS to choose which neurons and glia should be formed from NPs. If this is dysregulated, there could be serious implications.

ECS Can Be Used to Modulate/Control and Study Elements of Brain Growth

The ECS is a useful system of cannabinoids and their receptors that has many different applications for therapy because CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in most bodily tissues. Interaction with the ECS through endogenous cannabinoids is relatively easy and presents the potential for cannabinoids to be used to study the brain and its formation in greater detail.

Controlling and modulating these systems could be a useful tool for therapy. The ECS plays a vital role in neural growth, differentiation, modulation, and repair. It will require more study but as an avenue for therapy and further understanding, it has great potential.

Jonathan Neilly

Registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in Jonathan's life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

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