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The roles of the endogenous cannabinoid system in learning and memory in mice
The endogenous cannabinoid system was recently shown to play a fundamental role in adaptation to aversive situations and, in particular, in extinction of fear memories (Marsicano & Wotjak et al., Nature 2002, 418, 530–535). However, little is known concerning the exact mechanisms of these actions. CB1 is expressed in several different neuronal subtypes in the brain, including forebrain principal projecting neurones and cortical GABAergic interneurones. Therefore, we generated conditional mouse mutants in which CB1 expression is abolished in either neuronal population. Furthermore, mouse mutants lacking other components of the endogenous cannabinoid system (e.g. the anandamide-degrading enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase, cholecystokinin which might be regulated by cannabinoids, and the vanilloid receptor which is also a ligand for anandamide) are also being analysed regarding their performance in memory tasks.