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Rossi S.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Rossi S.,Cervello | de Chiara V.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | de Chiara V.,Cervello | And 12 more authors.
Molecular Nutrition and Food Research

Caffeine is the most commonly self-administered psychoactive substance worldwide. At usual doses, the effects of caffeine on vigilance, attention, mood and arousal largely depend on the modulation of central adenosine receptors. The present review article describes the action of caffeine within the striatum, to provide a possible molecular mechanism at the basis of the psychomotor and reinforcing properties of this pharmacological agent. The striatum is in fact a subcortical area involved in sensorimotor, cognitive, and emotional processes, and recent experimental findings showed that chronic caffeine consumption enhances the sensitivity of striatal GABAergic synapses to the stimulation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. The endo-cannabinoid system is involved in the psychoactive effects of many compounds, and adenosine A2A receptors (the main receptor target of caffeine) elicit a permissive effect towards CB1 receptors, thus suggesting that A2A-CB1 receptor interaction plays a major role in the generation and maintenance of caffeine reinforcing behavior. Aim of this review is to describe the effects of caffeine on striatal neurotransmission with special reference to the modulation of the endocannabinoid system. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Source

Rossi S.,NeuroLogica | Rossi S.,Cervello | De Chiara V.,NeuroLogica | De Chiara V.,Cervello | And 22 more authors.
Molecular Pharmacology

The endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) plays a crucial role in emotional control, and inhibition of its degradation by the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) has a potent antianxiety effect. The mechanism by which the magnification of AEA activity reduces anxiety is still largely undetermined. By using FAAH mutant mice and both intraperitoneal and intrace-rebroventricular administration of the FAAH inhibitor (3′-(aminocarbonyl)[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-yl)- cyclohexylcarbamate (URB597), we found that enhanced AEA signaling reversed, via central cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs), the anxious phenotype of mice exposed to social defeat stress. This behavioral effect was associated with preserved activity of CB1Rs regulating GABA transmission in the striatum, whereas these receptors were dramatically down-regulated by stress in control animals. The hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal (HPA) axis was not involved in the antistress effects of FAAH inhibition, although the HPA axis is a biological target of endogenous AEA. We also provided some physiological indications that striatal CB1Rs regulating GABA synapses are not the receptor targets of FAAH inhibition, which rather resulted in the stimulation of striatal CB1Rs regulating glutamate transmission. Collectively, our findings suggest that preservation of cannabinoid CB1 receptor function within the striatum is a possible synaptic correlate of the antianxiety effects of FAAH inhibition. Copyright © 2010 The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Source

Guida F.,The Second University of Naples | Luongo L.,The Second University of Naples | Marmo F.,University of Naples Federico II | Romano R.,The Second University of Naples | And 14 more authors.
Molecular Brain

Background: Enhanced supraspinal glutamate levels following nerve injury are associated with pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for neuropathic pain. Chronic pain can interfere with specific brain areas involved in glutamate-dependent neuropsychological processes, such as cognition, memory, and decision-making. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is thought to play a critical role in pain-related depression and anxiety, which are frequent co-morbidities of chronic pain. Using an animal model of spared nerve injury (SNI) of the sciatic nerve, we assess bio-molecular modifications in glutamatergic synapses in the mPFC that underlie neuropathic pain-induced plastic changes at 30 days post-surgery. Moreover, we examine the effects of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) administration on pain-related behaviours, as well as the cortical biochemical and morphological changes that occur in SNI animals. Results: At 1 month, SNI was associated with mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity, as well as depression-like behaviour, cognitive impairments, and obsessive-compulsive activities. Moreover, we observed an overall glutamate synapse modification in the mPFC, characterized by changes in synaptic density proteins and amino acid levels. Finally, with regard to the resolution of pain and depressive-like syndrome in SNI mice, PEA restored the glutamatergic synapse proteins and changes in amino acid release. Conclusions: Given the potential role of the mPFC in pain mechanisms, our findings may provide novel insights into neuropathic pain forebrain processes and indicate PEA as a new pharmacological tool to treat neuropathic pain and the related negative affective states. Graphical Abstract Palmitoylethanolamide: a new pharmacological tool to treat neuropathic pain and the related negative affective states. © 2015 Guida et al. Source

Gentile A.,Cervello | Gentile A.,NeuroLogica | Fresegna D.,Cervello | Federici M.,Cervello | And 17 more authors.
Neurobiology of Disease

Mood disturbances are frequent in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), even in non-disabled patients and in the remitting stages of the disease. It is still largely unknown how the pathophysiological process on MS causes anxiety and depression, but the dopaminergic system is likely involved.Aim of the present study was to investigate depressive-like behavior in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of MS, and its possible link to dopaminergic neurotransmission. Behavioral, amperometric and biochemical experiments were performed to determine the role of inflammation in mood control in EAE. First, we assessed the independence of mood alterations from motor disability during the acute phase of the disease, by showing a depressive-like behavior in EAE mice with mild clinical score and preserved motor skills (mild-EAE). Second, we linked such behavioral changes to the selective increased striatal expression of interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) in a context of mild inflammation and to dopaminergic system alterations. Indeed, in the striatum of EAE mice, we observed an impairment of dopamine (DA) neurotransmission, since DA release was reduced and signaling through DA D1- and D2-like receptors was unbalanced.In conclusion, the present study provides first evidence of the link between the depressive-like behavior and the alteration of dopaminergic system in EAE mice, raising the possibility that IL-1β driven dysfunction of dopaminergic signaling might play a role in mood disturbances also in MS patients. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

De Chiara V.,NeuroLogica | De Chiara V.,Cervello | Errico F.,Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory | Musella A.,NeuroLogica | And 17 more authors.

The endogenous cannabinoid system is involved in the regulation of the central reward pathway. Running wheel and sucrose consumption have rewarding and reinforcing properties in rodents, and share many neurochemical and behavioral characteristics with drug addiction. In this study, we investigated whether running wheel or sucrose consumption altered the sensitivity of striatal synapses to the activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. We found that cannabinoid CB1 receptor-mediated presynaptic control of striatal inhibitory postsynaptic currents was remarkably potentiated after these environmental manipulations. In contrast, the sensitivity of glutamate synapses to CB1 receptor stimulation was unaltered, as well as that of GABA synapses to the stimulation of presynaptic GABAB receptors. The sensitization of cannabinoid CB1 receptor-mediated responses was slowly reversible after the discontinuation of running wheel or sucrose consumption, and was also detectable following the mobilization of endocannabinoids by metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 stimulation. Finally, we found that the upregulation of cannabinoid transmission induced by wheel running or sucrose had a crucial role in the protective effects of these environmental manipulations against the motor and synaptic consequences of stress. © 2010 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved. Source

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