Cannabinoid regulation of neuromuscular transmission


Cannabinoid drugs are under active consideration for treatment of a wide range of health conditions. This electrophysiology project will investigate the influence of specific endocannabinoids at the neuromuscular junction, where we think they may play a completely novel role.


Associate Professor William (Bill) Phillips, Dr Dario Protti

Research Location

Camperdown - School of Medical Sciences - Bosch Institute

Program Type



In the central nervous system endocannabinoids provide negative feedback regulation on the number of quanta of neurotransmitter released by nerve terminals onto postsynaptic neurons (Alger, 2012). We have recently found evidence that certain cannabinoid drugs can have a very different effect at neuromuscular junction (NMJ): increasing the quantal amplitude.
Cannabinoids are under active consideration for treatment of a wide range of health conditions. This makes it important to identify the specific physiological and pharmacological effects cannabinoids can have upon the mammalian nervous system. This project will investigate preliminary findings that endocannabinoids play a physiological role in regulating the amount of acetylcholine released per synaptic vesicle at the NMJ. The project will involve a combination of intracellular electrophysiological recordings with muscles from transgenic mice and high-resolution fluorescence microscopy of NMJs to assess the mechanisms of cannabinoid action.Alger BE. (2012). Endocannabinoids at the synapse a decade after the dies mirabilis (29 March 2001): what we still do not know. J Physiol 590.10, 2203-2212.

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Synaptic function, Neuromuscular, Motor control, Electrophysiology, confocal microscopy, motor neuron, skeletal muscle, Cannabinoids, Myasthenia gravis, fatigue

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1783

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