Deficiency in endocannabinoid synthase DAGLB contributes to early onset Parkinsonism and murine nigral dopaminergic neuron dysfunction

Zhenhua Liu, Nannan Yang, Jie Dong, Wotu Tian, Lisa Chang, Jinghong Ma, Jifeng Guo, Jieqiong Tan, Ao Dong, Kaikai He, Jingheng Zhou, Resat Cinar, Junbing Wu, Armando G. Salinas, Lixin Sun, Mantosh Kumar, Breanna T. Sullivan, Braden B. Oldham, Vanessa Pitz, Mary B. MakariousJinhui Ding, Justin Kung, Chengsong Xie, Sarah L. Hawes, Lupeng Wang, Tao Wang, Piu Chan, Zhuohua Zhang, Weidong Le, Shengdi Chen, David M. Lovinger, Cornelis Blauwendraat, Andrew B. Singleton, Guohong Cui, Yulong Li, Huaibin Cai, Beisha Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Endocannabinoid (eCB), 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG), the most abundant eCB in the brain, regulates diverse neural functions. Here we linked multiple homozygous loss-of-function mutations in 2-AG synthase diacylglycerol lipase β (DAGLB) to an early onset autosomal recessive Parkinsonism. DAGLB is the main 2-AG synthase in human and mouse substantia nigra (SN) dopaminergic neurons (DANs). In mice, the SN 2-AG levels were markedly correlated with motor performance during locomotor skill acquisition. Genetic knockdown of Daglb in nigral DANs substantially reduced SN 2-AG levels and impaired locomotor skill learning, particularly the across-session learning. Conversely, pharmacological inhibition of 2-AG degradation increased nigral 2-AG levels, DAN activity and dopamine release and rescued the locomotor skill learning deficits. Together, we demonstrate that DAGLB-deficiency contributes to the pathogenesis of Parkinsonism, reveal the importance of DAGLB-mediated 2-AG biosynthesis in nigral DANs in regulating neuronal activity and dopamine release, and suggest potential benefits of 2-AG augmentation in alleviating Parkinsonism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3490
Pages (from-to)3490
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 17 2022


  • Animals
  • Dopamine/metabolism
  • Dopaminergic Neurons/metabolism
  • Endocannabinoids/metabolism
  • Lipoprotein Lipase/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Parkinsonian Disorders/metabolism
  • Substantia Nigra/metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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