Alterations of Endocannabinoid System in Depression in Adolescent Population: Results of Experiments in Early-Life Stress Model and Clinical Studies

Author(s): Jonasz Dragon, Ewa Obuchowicz

As major depression among children and adolescents becomes a growing issue in our society, a lot of effort has been made to broaden our knowledge about this disease in order to improve its diagnostics and treatment options. Traditional theory about neurotransmitter deficits, even though it was a huge step forward in understanding pathophysiology of depression, seems not to discuss the topic at length. With growing incidence of marijuana consumption among youngsters and its psychiatric implications, a lot of attention has been paid to endocannabinoid system and its role in pathophysiology of depressive disorders. An Early Life Stress is a preclinical developmental model of depressive-like disorders in rodents that has been exploited to explore alterations in endocannabinoid system. This protocol has however different modifications with miscellaneous outcomes. For understandable bioethical reasons there is significantly lower number of clinical studies that describe endocannabinoid variations in adolescent humans. Even though some reviews that discuss alterations in endocannabinoid system in result of early life stress already exist, none of them puts these data together with information from human adolescent population. This reviewdescribes possible changes in the mentioned system in early life stress presented in recent papers and compares them with limited data we have from clinical studies performed among adolescent population.

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