Depolarization-induced suppression of excitation (DSE) is a major form of cannabinoid-mediated short-term retrograde neuronal plasticity and is found in numerous brain regions. Autaptically cultured murine hippocampal neurons are an architecturally simple model for the study of cannabinoid signaling, including DSE. The transient nature of DSE-tens of seconds-is probably determined by the regulated hydrolysis of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). No less than five candidate enzymes have been considered to serve this role: fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL), and α/β-hydrolase domain (ABHD) 6 and 12. We previously found that FAAH and COX-2 do not have a role in determining the duration of autaptic DSE. In the current study, we found that two structurally distinct inhibitors of MGL [N-arachidonoyl maleimide and 4-nitrophenyl 4-(dibenzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5- yl(hydroxy)methyl)piperidine-1-carboxylate (JZL184)] prolong DSE in autaptic hippocampal neurons, whereas inhibition of ABHD6 by N-methyl-N-[[3-(4-pyridinyl) phenyl]methyl]-4́-(aminocarbonyl)[1,1́-biphenyl]-4-yl ester, carbamic acid (WWL70) had no effect. In addition, we developed antibodies against MGL and ABHD6 and determined their expression in autaptic cultures. MGL is chiefly expressed at presynaptic terminals, optimally positioned to break down 2-AG that has engaged presynaptic CB1 receptors. ABHD6 is expressed in two distinct locations on autaptic islands, including a prominent localization in some dendrites. In summary, we provide strong pharmacological and anatomical evidence that MGL regulates DSE in autaptic hippocampal neurons and, taken together with other studies, emphasizes that endocannabinoid signaling is terminated in temporally diverse ways.
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