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Endocannabinoids and Lipid Mediators in Brain Functions

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1. Auflage, 2017

The science of cannabinoids is 50 years old. These past years provided a remarkable and constant number of breakthroughs, showing that the signaling mediated by endocannabinoids and lipid mediators impacts almost every function of the body. Indeed, this represents a special field of research, which allows tackling the complexity of biological functions, and provides potential therapeutic frameworks for a plethora of diseases. The number of exciting discoveries brought up to the scientific community almost on a daily basis highlights the importance of an updated volume on this topic. Particularly, given that potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids are currently under heavy analysis in many Countries worldwide. Hence, the main objective of this book is to explore not only some of the many functions of endocannabinoids (and lipid mediators) in physiological control of networks at a cellular and molecular level, but also to extend this knowledge for potential use of cannabinoids and/or drugs regulating endocannabinoid levels in vivo as therapeutic target(s) in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. In this book new findings and ideas about the endocannabinoid system and its roles as neuronal circuit modulator related to human brain pathologies characterized by alterations in neuroplasticity will be highlighted. Endocannabinoid roles in key systems controlling appetite, pain, learning and memory, as well as sleep and stress responses will be presented. In addition, pathological processes associated with changes in endocannabinoid signaling will be discussed in the context of anxiety, autism, depression and addiction. This book will provide an excellent background to researchers looking for extending their areas of interest, and to newcomers in the field.

Miriam Melis is an Associate Professor at the University of Cagliari, Italy. She holds a PharmD in Pharmacy (University of Palermo, 1993) as well as a PhD in Neuroscience University of Cagliari, 2011). During her career Miriam Melis worked as a Research Fellow for two years at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, San Francisco, CA, US and as a Visiting Scientist at Lund Universitet Wallenberg Neuroscience Center in 2011. Her current research is focused on understanding neurobiological underpinnings (e.g., adaptations of both mesocorticolimbic dopamine pathway and endocannabinoid system) of resilience and susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., substance use disorder, antisocial behavior, anxiety, depression). Her group discovered that dopamine neurons can synthesize and release lipid signaling molecules (i.e. endocannabinoids and their cognate molecules) under both physiological and pathological conditions. She has published 34 research papers as well as 2 book chapters on this topic.

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