Andras Bilkei-Gorzo

University Hospital Bonn, Germany

In the first 15 years in my career I participated in the development of anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs. Our group focused on the behavioral analysis of rodents in models of stress. After moving to the academic research field I followed this research area. In a series of publications we cleared the role of substance P and the endogenous opioids in emotional processing as well as in physiological and pathological stress reactivity. Additionally, I managed to pursue my other major research interest – brain ageing – at the University of Bonn. We were the first who suggested that cannabinoid system may protect against ageing, because deletion of CB1 receptors led to early onset and accelerated brain ageing. Following this new research direction we showed that 1; cannabinoid system activity declines with ageing. 2; Reduced cannabinoid system activity is associated with pro-inflammatory glial activity, reduced neurogenesis, disturbed proteostasis, cognitive deficits. -typical signs of old age. 3; elevation of CB1 receptor activity in old individuals by chronic low dose THC treatment reversed age-related gene expression, epigenetic and functional changes to the level typical of young individuals. In our present projects we will elucidate the mechanism of the anti-ageing effect of THC and clear how cannabinoid system controls as a safe keeper brain body interactions during ageing. Our studies opened a new avenue in ageing research and offered a new direction for the pharmacological research for the treatment of age-related cognitive impairments.