Integrating Endocannabinoid Signalling In Depression

Tarapati Rana, Tapan Behl, Aayush Sehgal, Vineet Mehta, Sukhbir Singh, Ravinder Kumar, Simona Bungau

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Abstract: Depression is a common mental disorder and is the leading cause of suicide globally. Because of the significant diversity in mental disorders, accurate diagnosis is difficult. Hence, the investigation of novel biomarkers is a key research perspective in psychotherapy to enable an individually tailored treatment approach. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a vital cortical region whose circuitry has been implicated in the development of depressive disorder. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has garnered increasing attention because of its involvement in several diverse physiological brain processes including regulation of emotional, motivational and cognitive functions. The current review article explores the function of the key elements of the ECS as a biomarker in depressive disorder. The activity of endocannabinoids is thought to be moderated by the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). Variations in the concentration of endocannabinoids and the binding affinity of CB1 receptors and their density have been identified in the PFC of persons with depression. Such discoveries support our theory that alteration in endocannabinoid function leads to the pathophysiological features of depressive disorders. Moreover, evidence from animal and human studies has revealed that dysfunction in endocannabinoid signalling can produce depression-like behaviours; therefore, improvement of endocannabinoid signalling may represent a new therapeutic approach for the management of depressive disorders. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2022-2034
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Biomarker
  • CB1 receptors
  • Depression
  • ECS
  • Psychiatric disorder


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