“The cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) plays a pleiotropic role in the innate immunity and is considered a crucial mediator of liver disease.
Cannabinoid CB2 receptor activation has been reported to attenuate liver fibrosis in CCl4 exposed mice and also plays a potential role in liver regeneration in a mouse model of I/R and protection against alcohol-induced liver injury.
In this study, we investigated the impact of CB2 receptors on the antifibrotic and regenerative process associated with cholestatic liver injury.
Following bile duct ligation (BDL) for 3 weeks, there was increased aminotransferase levels, marked inflammatory infiltration and hepatocyte apoptosis with induced oxidative stress, as reflected by increased lipid peroxidation. Conversely, following treatment with the CB2 agonist, AM-1241, BDL rats displayed a reduction in liver injury and attenuation of fibrosis as reflected by expression of hydroxyproline and α-smooth muscle actin. AM1241 treatment also significantly attenuated lipid peroxidation end-products, p53-dependent apoptosis and also attenuated inflammatory process by stimulating IL-10 production. Moreover, AM1241 treated rats were associated with significant expression of hepatic progenitor/oval cell markers.
In conclusion, this study points out that CB2 receptors reduce liver injury and promote liver regeneration via distinct mechanisms including IL-10 dependent inhibition of inflammation, reduction of p53-reliant apoptosis and through stimulation of oval/progenitor cells. These results suggest that CB2 agonists display potent hepatoregenrative properties, in addition to their antifibrogenic effects.”