Conversely, without these CB1 receptors, the "GABAergic brake" continues to act on the dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area, leading to the reduced performance levels observed above.
It is already known that CB1 receptors play a regulatory role in the motivation to consume rewards, whether natural or not. What is original about this research is that it shows that physical exercise can be added to the array of natural rewards regulated by the endocannabinoid system. "If confirmed, this motivational hypothesis would imply that the role played by the CB1 receptor has more to do with 'staying power' in the exercise than with actual physical performance levels" explain the researchers.
This work reveals that the endocannabinoid system plays a major role in physical exercise performance through its impact on motivational processes. It thus opens up new avenues of research into the mediators of pleasure and even addiction associated with regular physical exercise. "After endorphins, we now need to consider endocannabinoids as another potential mediator of the positive effects that physical exercise has on our mood," the researchers conclude.
For further information
"Ventral Tegmental Area Cannabinoid Type-1 Receptors Control Voluntary Exercise Performance"
Sarah Dubreucqa,c, Audrey Duranda,c, Isabelle Matiasa,c, Giovanni Bnarda,c, Elodie Richarda,c, Edgar Soria-Gomeza,c, Christelle Glangetasb,c, Laurent Grocb,c, Aya Wadleigha,c, Federico Massaa,c, Dusan Bartschd, Giovanni Marsicanoa,c,e, Francois Georgesb,c & Francis Chaouloffa,c
a Unit Inserm 862, NeuroCentre Magendie, Physiopathologie de la Plasticit Neuronale, Bordeaux, F-33076, Fr
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INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)