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Brain Behav Evol January 1, 2006; 67 (3): 135-49.

Neuroanatomical distribution of cannabinoid receptor gene expression in the brain of the rough-skinned newt, Taricha granulosa.

Hollis DM , Coddington EJ , Moore FL .

Type I cannabinoid receptor (CB1) is a G-protein coupled receptor with a widespread distribution in the central nervous system in mammals. In a urodele amphibian, the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa), recent evidence indicates that endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) mediate behavioral responses to acute stress and electrophysiological responses to corticosterone. To identify possible sites of action for endocannabinoids, in situ hybridization using a gene and species specific cRNA probe was used to label CB1 mRNA in brains of male T. granulosa. Labeling of CB1 mRNA in the telencephalon was observed in the olfactory bulb and all areas of the pallium, as well as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and nucleus amygdalae dorsolateralis. The labeling of CB1 mRNA was also found in regions of the preoptic area, thalamus, midbrain tegmentum and tectum, cerebellum, and the stratum griseum of the hindbrain. A notable difference in CB1 labeling between this amphibian and mammals is the abundance of labeling in areas associated with olfaction (anterior olfactory nuclei, nucleus amygdalae dorsolateralis, and lateral pallium), which hints that endocannabinoids might modulate responses to odors as well as pheromones. This widespread distribution of CB1 labeling, particularly in sensory and motor control centers, fits with prior results showing that endocannabinoids modulate sensorimotor processing and behavioral output in this species. The distribution of CB1 in the brain of T. granulosa was in many of the same sites previously observed in the brain of the anuran amphibian, Xenopus laevis, as well as those of different species of mammals, suggesting that endocannabinoid signaling pathways are conserved.

PubMed ID: 16415569
Article link: Brain Behav Evol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cnr1