Interplay between synaptic endocannabinoid signaling and metaplasticity in neuronal circuit function and dysfunction


Correspondence: Raffaella Tonini, as above.



Synaptic neuromodulation acts across different functional domains to regulate cognitive processing and behavior. Recent challenges are related to elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms through which neuromodulatory pathways act on multiple time scales to signal state-dependent contingencies at the synaptic level or to stabilise synaptic connections during behavior. Here, we present a framework with the synaptic neuromodulators endocannabinoids (eCBs) as key players in dynamic synaptic changes. Modulation of various molecular components of the eCB pathway yields interconnected functional activation states of eCB signaling (prior, tonic, and persistent), which may contribute to metaplastic control of synaptic and behavioral functions in health and disease. The emerging picture supports aberrant metaplasticity as a contributor to cognitive dysfunction associated with several pathological states in which eCB signaling, or other neuromodulatory pathways, are deregulated.