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Title: Cannabinoid effects on hippocampal neurophysiology and mnemonic processing
Author: Goonawardena, Anushka V.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 5485
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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Here we demonstrate that both exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids affect different aspects of learning and memory in the rat.  For example, the potent CB1 receptor agonist, WIN-2 was able to delay-dependently impair short-term memory (STM) sparing reference memory (RM).  This demonstrates that it is the STM but  not RM processes that are more sensitive to the effects of cannabinoids. In addition, given that cannabinoids were able to hinder the recruitment of hippocampal firing correlates that are crucial for correct performance of a STM task, suppress hippocampal principal cell firing during the encoding phase of a STM task, reduce spontaneous bursting and disrupt synchronous firing of hippocampal principal cells respectively, confirm that they do alter the neurophysiology of the hippocampus.  These cannabinoid induced alterations in hippocampal neuronal activity may well explain the observed deficits across numerous other working memory (WM) and STM tasks. The results also revealed that cannabinoid-induced deficits in learning and memory are brought about due to an interaction between cannabinoid and cholinergic systems.  Although endocannabinoids failed to produce impairments in STM under normal physiological conditions, STM deficits were observed when anadamide levels were pharmacologically elevated beyond normal physiological levels.  Moreover, results demonstrate that the endocannabinoid system is involved in behavioural flexibility (i.e. reversal learning) and modulation of acquisition and/or consolidation of certain spatial elements that are necessary to perform an operant conditioning risk. Overall, the results in this thesis show that cannabinoid induced deficits in learning and memory are produced as a result of their direct effects on hippocampal processing.  The exact mechanisms that mediate these cannabinoid-induced deficits in memory are yet unclear and remain to be determined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cannabinoids ; Receptors, Cannabinoid ; Endocannabinoids