Cellular activity in the brain depends on mitochondria, the cell organelles which use energy sources to generate ATP. Cannabinoid receptors present at brain mitochondria membranes (mtCB1) can directly alter mitochondrial energetic activity, and cannabinoid intoxication is known to induce amnesia in humans and animals. Here, the authors show that acute cannabinoid-induced memory impairment in mice requires activation of hippocampal mtCB1 receptors. Genetic exclusion of CB1 receptors from hippocampal mitochondria prevents cannabinoid-induced reduction of mitochondrial mobility, synaptic transmission and memory changes.
“mtCB1 receptors signal through intra-mitochondrial Gαi protein activation and consequent inhibition of soluble-adenylyl cyclase (sAC). The resulting inhibition of protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent phosphorylation of specific subunits of the mitochondrial electron transport system eventually leads to decreased cellular respiration. Hippocampal inhibition of sAC activity or manipulation of intra-mitochondrial PKA signalling or phosphorylation of the Complex I subunit NDUFS2 inhibit bioenergetic and amnesic effects of cannabinoids. Thus, the G protein-coupled mtCB1 receptors regulate memory processes via modulation of mitochondrial energy metabolism. By directly linking mitochondrial activity to memory formation, these data reveal that bioenergetic processes are primary acute regulators of cognitive functions.”
Hebert-Chatelain E, Desprez T, Serrat R, Bellocchio L, Soria-Gomez E, Busquets-Garcia A, Zottola AC, Delamarre A, Cannich A, Vincent P et al: A cannabinoid link between mitochondria and memory. Nature [Epub ahead of print, Nov, 9, 2016; doi: 10.1038/nature20127]