The role of the endo-cannabinoids system in reconsolidation of trauma related memories
My name is Anat Leibovici and my main goal is to deeply understand the role of the endocannabinoids system in re consolidation of traumatic related memories.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by re-experiencing the trauma-event and avoidance of trauma-related stimuli. Pharmacological options yield only modest clinical benefits of symptoms management and clinical remission. Despite the significant need and the financial cost, there has no new medication were approved for PTSD for 2 decades. Here, we propose to use cannabis-based pharmacological treatment in combination with a novel behavioral therapy to disrupt the traumatic memories in PTSD. We recently developed a novel approach to disrupt or alter unwanted, pathogenic memories. Specifically, we showed in a mouse model that cocaine-associated memories can be replaced with aversive memories, by re-associating the cocaine-related cues with aversive consequences. This novel memory replacement procedure prevented cocaine seeking in a long-lasting manner. We also showed that an aversive memory could be replaced by an appetitive memory and prevent avoidance behavior. Thus, this approach can be used to prevent symptoms in PTSD. The endocannabinoid system was shown to play an important role in emotional memories and their dynamics. We propose to use cannabinoid drug treatment, to facilitate the flexibility of the traumatic memory, replace it with an adaptive memory, and thereby prevent occurrence of PTSD symptoms. We will develop test the combined, cannabis-based pharma co-behavioral treatment in animal models, as an innovative therapeutic horizon for PTSD.