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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2013, Article ID 941237, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/941237
Review Article

Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Central Regulation of Nonmammalian Vertebrate Reproduction

Department of Life Science and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Via Accademia Albertina 13, 10123 Torino, Italy

Received 28 June 2013; Accepted 12 August 2013

Academic Editor: Rosaria Meccariello

Copyright © 2013 Erika Cottone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has a well-documented pivotal role in the control of mammalian reproductive functions, by acting at multiple levels, that is, central (CNS) and local (gonads) levels. Since studies performed in animal models other than mammals might provide further insight into the biology of these signalling molecules, in the present paper we review the comparative data pointing toward the endocannabinoid involvement in the reproductive control of non-mammalian vertebrates, focussing in particular on the central regulation of teleost and amphibian reproduction. The morphofunctional distribution of brain cannabinoid receptors will be discussed in relation to other crucial signalling molecules involved in the control of reproductive functions, such as GnRH, dopamine, aromatase, and pituitary gonadotropins.