Cannabinoid regulation of neuromuscular transmission


Myasthenia gravis is a muscle weakness disease caused by autoimmune antibodies that impair synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction. Cannabinoid drugs influence the strength of synaptic transmission. This project will examine the pathways by which cannabinoids affect neuromuscular transmission and test their potential for treating myasthenia gravis in mouse models.


Associate Professor William (Bill) Phillips

Research Location

Camperdown - School of Medical Sciences - Bosch Institute

Program Type



Myasthenia gravis is a chronic disease but the existing drugs used to treat it tend to lose their efficacy over time or carry with them potential harmful side effects for the patient.There is a need for new treatments for myasthenia gravis.Cannabinoids help to regulate quantal synaptic transmission in the central nervous system but their effects at the mammalian neuromuscular junction are not well understood. Our preliminary work suggests that cannabinoid drugs may have potential to enhance neuromuscular transmission in myasthenia gravis. This project will involve learning to make intracellular electrophysiological recordings to study the enhancing effects of cannabinoid drugs. Pharmacological blockers and cannabinoid-receptor knockout mice will then be used to identify the signalling pathways responsible for cannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity.The potential of cannabinoids to reverse muscle weakness will then be tested in mouse models of myasthenia gravis.

Additional Information

The lab is located within the Anderson Stuart Building (F13) with the excellent technical support of the Bosch Institute

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Neuromuscular, Myasthenia gravis, Motor control, Neuroscience, Synaptic plasticity

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1783

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