Bluett RJ, Báldi R, Haymer A, Gaulden AD, Hartley ND, Parrish WP, Baechle J, Marcus DJ, Mardam-Bey R, Shonesy BC, Uddin MJ, Marnett LJ, Mackie K, Colbran RJ, Winder DG, Patel S. Endocannabinoid signalling modulates susceptibility to traumatic stress exposure. Nature communications. 2017 Mar 28;8(8). 14782 p. PMID: 28348378 [PubMed]
Stress is a ubiquitous risk factor for the exacerbation and development of affective disorders including major depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms conferring resilience to the adverse consequences of stress could have broad implications for the treatment and prevention of mood and anxiety disorders. We utilize laboratory mice and their innate inter-individual differences in stress-susceptibility to demonstrate a critical role for the endogenous cannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in stress-resilience. Specifically, systemic 2-AG augmentation is associated with a stress-resilient phenotype and enhances resilience in previously susceptible mice, while systemic 2-AG depletion or CB1 receptor blockade increases susceptibility in previously resilient mice. Moreover, stress-resilience is associated with increased phasic 2-AG-mediated synaptic suppression at ventral hippocampal-amygdala glutamatergic synapses and amygdala-specific 2-AG depletion impairs successful adaptation to repeated stress. These data indicate amygdala 2-AG signalling mechanisms promote resilience to adverse effects of acute traumatic stress and facilitate adaptation to repeated stress exposure.