Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Endocannabinoids in health and stress

How does the endocannabinoid system in the zebrafish function at the molecular and phenotypic levels and how is it linked to the stress axis?

2012 - 2017
Michael Richardson
Faculty of Science Leiden Faculty of Science Leiden

Here, we investigate the function of the endocannabinoid system in zebrafish embryos to determine its role in modulating behavior and stress.

There is currently great interest in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in relation to health and disease. Endocannabinoids are signaling molecules in the brain that interact with the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. This project focuses on understanding the relation between stress and the ECS. It is known that stress is mainly regulated through the hypothalamic-pituitary-interrenal axis (HPI-axis). The HPI-axis and the ECS seem to work together to regulate the stress-response. Overall, our current knowledge suggests that the eCB system has an inhibiting effect on stress-induced HPI axis activity, which is controlled by a central mechanism. At the end of this project we aim to have a better understanding of the endocannabinoid system from the level of the molecule to the phenotype in the zebrafish larvae model. We will apply different layers of research methods, such as behavioral screening and metabolite analysis.

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