The Role of Cannabinoids in the Setting of Cirrhosis.

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“Although the mortality rates of cirrhosis are underestimated, its socioeconomic burden has demonstrated a significant global impact. Cirrhosis is defined by the disruption of normal liver architecture after years of chronic insult by different etiologies. Treatment modalities are recommended primarily in decompensated cirrhosis and specifically tailored to the different manifestations of hepatic decompensation. Antifibrogenic therapies are within an active area of investigation.

The endocannabinoid system has been shown to play a role in liver disease, and cirrhosis specifically, with intriguing possible therapeutic benefits. The endocannabinoid system comprises cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) and their ligands, endocannabinoids and exocannabinoids.

CB1 activation enhances fibrogenesis, whereas CB2 activation counteracts progression to fibrosis. Conversely, deletion of CB1 is associated with an improvement of hepatic fibrosis and steatosis, and deletion of CB2 results in increased collagen deposition, steatosis, and enhanced inflammation.

CB1 antagonism has also demonstrated vascular effects in patients with cirrhosis, causing an increase in arterial pressure and vascular resistance as well as a decrease in mesenteric blood flow and portal pressure, thereby preventing ascites. In mice with hepatic encephalopathy, CB1 blockade and activation of CB2 demonstrated improved neurologic score and cognitive function.

Endocannabinoids, themselves also have mechanistic roles in cirrhosis. Arachidonoyl ethanolamide (AEA) exhibits antifibrogenic properties by inhibition of HSC proliferation and induction of necrotic death. AEA induces mesenteric vasodilation and hypotension via CB1 induction. 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) is a fibrogenic mediator independent of CB receptors, but in higher doses induces apoptosis of HSCs, which may actually show antifibrotic properties. 2-AG has also demonstrated growth-inhibitory and cytotoxic effects.

The exocannabinoid, THC, suppresses proliferation of hepatic myofibroblasts and stellate cells and induces apoptosis, which may reveal antifibrotic and hepatoprotective mechanisms. Thus, several components of the endocannabinoid system have therapeutic potential in cirrhosis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29890719

http://www.mdpi.com/2305-6320/5/2/52

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Mechanistic Potential and Therapeutic Implications of Cannabinoids in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

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“Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is comprised of nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It is defined by histologic or radiographic evidence of steatosis in the absence of alternative etiologies, including significant alcohol consumption, steatogenic medication use, or hereditary disorders.

NAFLD is now the most common liver disease, and when NASH is present it can progress to fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Different mechanisms have been identified as contributors to the physiology of NAFLD; insulin resistance and related metabolic derangements have been the hallmark of physiology associated with NAFLD.

The mainstay of treatment has classically involved lifestyle modifications focused on the reduction of insulin resistance. However, emerging evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system and its associated cannabinoid receptors and ligands have mechanistic and therapeutic implications in metabolic derangements and specifically in NAFLD.

Cannabinoid receptor 1 antagonism has demonstrated promising effects with increased resistance to hepatic steatosis, reversal of hepatic steatosis, and improvements in glycemic control, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. Literature regarding the role of cannabinoid receptor 2 in NAFLD is controversial.

Exocannabinoids and endocannabinoids have demonstrated some therapeutic impact on metabolic derangements associated with NAFLD, although literature regarding direct therapeutic use in NAFLD is limited. Nonetheless, the properties of the endocannabinoid system, its receptors, substrates, and ligands remain a significant arena warranting further research, with potential for a pharmacologic intervention for a disease with an anticipated increase in economic and clinical burden.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29843404

http://www.mdpi.com/2305-6320/5/2/47

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Synthesis of 13 C6 -labeled, dual-target inhibitor of Cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1 R) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS).

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“Cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1 R) antagonists/inverse agonists have great potential in the treatment of metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

CB1 R inverse agonists have also been reported to be effective in mitigating fibrotic disorders in murine models.

Inducible nitric oxide synthase is another promising target implicated in fibrotic and inflammatory disorders.

We have disclosed MRI-1867 as a potent and selective, peripherally acting dual-target inhibitor of the cannabinoid receptor (CB1 R) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS).

Herein, we report the synthesis of [13 C6 ]-MRI-1867 as a racemate from commercially available chlorobenzene-13 C6 as the starting, stable-isotope label reagent. The racemic [13 C6 ]-MRI-1867 was further processed to the stable-isotope labeled enantiopure compounds utilizing chiral chromatography. Both racemic [13 C6]-MRI-1867 and S-13 C6 -MRI-1867 will be used to quantitate unlabeled S-MRI-1867 during clinical DMPK studies and will be used as an LC-MS/MS bioanalytical standard.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29790591

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jlcr.3639

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The endocannabinoid-alcohol crosstalk: recent advances on a bi-faceted target.

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“Increasing evidence focuses on the endocannabinoid system as a relevant player in the induction of aberrant synaptic plasticity and related addictive phenotype following chronic excessive alcohol drinking.

Besides, the endocannabinoid system is implicated in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease.

Interestingly, whereas the involvement of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in alcohol rewarding properties is established, the central and peripheral action of CB2 cannabinoid signalling is still to be elucidated.

This review aims at giving the input to deepen knowledge on the role of the endocannabinoid system, highlighting the advancing evidence that suggests that CB1 and CB2 receptors may play opposite roles in the regulation of both the reinforcing properties of alcohol in the brain and the mechanisms responsible for cell injury and inflammation in the hepatic tissue.

The manipulation of the endocannabinoid system could represent a bi-faceted strategy to counteract alcohol-related dysfunction in central transmission and liver structural and functional disarrangement.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29770478

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1440-1681.12967

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Marijuana Use Is Not Associated With Progression to Advanced Liver Fibrosis in HIV/Hepatitis C Virus-coinfected Women.

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“Marijuana (hereafter “tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]”) use has been associated with liver fibrosis progression in retrospective analyses of patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV). We studied long-term effects of THC on fibrosis progression in women coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).

CONCLUSIONS:

In this large cohort of HIV/HCV-coinfected women, THC was not associated with progression to significant liver fibrosis. Alcohol use was independently associated with liver fibrosis, and may better predict fibrosis progression in HIV/HCV-coinfected women.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4967608/

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/63/4/512/2595097

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Marijuana smoking does not accelerate progression of liver disease in HIV-hepatitis C coinfection: a longitudinal cohort analysis.

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“Marijuana smoking is common and believed to relieve many symptoms, but daily use has been associated with liver fibrosis in cross-sectional studies. We aimed to estimate the effect of marijuana smoking on liver disease progression in a Canadian prospective multicenter cohort of human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus (HIV/HCV) coinfected persons.

In this prospective analysis we found no evidence for an association between marijuana smoking and significant liver fibrosis progression in HIV/HCV coinfection.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23811492

“To conclude, in this first prospective evaluation of liver disease progression among HIV-HCV infected persons, we could not demonstrate any important effect of marijuana on liver disease outcomes. A causal association is unlikely: hazard ratios were weak and most importantly were attenuated when accounting for temporality in the exposure-disease relationship and there was no dose-response relationship. It is likely that previous studies have been biased by reverse causality as patients use more marijuana to relieve symptoms as liver disease progresses.”

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/57/5/663/312934

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History of marijuana use does not affect outcomes on the liver transplant waitlist.

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“Data are limited on marijuana use and its impact on liver transplant (LT) waitlist outcomes.

We aimed to assess the risk of waitlist mortality/delisting and likelihood of LT among prior marijuana users, and to determine the prevalence and factors associated with marijuana use.

Unlike illicit drug use, marijuana use was not associated with worse outcomes on the LT waitlist.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29319619

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00007890-900000000-96711

https://journals.lww.com/transplantjournal/Abstract/onlinefirst/History_of_marijuana_use_does_not_affect_outcomes.96711.aspx

“Do Cannabinoids have a therapeutic role in transplantation? Transplantation is one critical area of medicine that requires the use of immunosuppressants. Cannabinoids have emerged as powerful drug candidates for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases due to their immunosuppressive properties.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2923447/
“The history of donor cannabis smoking does not appear to affect early and mid-term outcomes after lung transplantation (LTx) and potentially improve the donor pool. As it does not seem to negatively affect the outcomes after LTx, it should not be per se considered a contraindication for lung donation.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28077504
THC In Marijuana Delays Organ Transplant Rejection In Mice. A new study suggests the active ingredient in marijuana delays the rejection of incompatible organs in mice.” http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/thc-marijuana-may-delay-organ-transplant-rejection/
“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol attenuates allogeneic host-versus-graft response and delays skin graft rejection through activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 and induction of myeloid-derived suppressor cells” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4541500/
Cannabidiol Limits T Cell-Mediated Chronic Autoimmune Myocarditis: Implications to Autoimmune Disorders and Organ Transplantation. CBD may represent a promising novel treatment for management of autoimmune myocarditis and possibly other autoimmune disorders, and organ transplantation.” http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc/articles/PMC5004721/
“Could CANNABIS help transplant patients? Drug ‘delays rejection of organs by slowing the immune system’s attack'” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3279752/Could-CANNABIS-help-transplant-patients-Drug-delays-rejection-organs-slowing-immune-s-attack.html
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Cannabis use is associated with reduced prevalence of progressive stages of alcoholic liver disease.

Liver International

 

“Abusive alcohol use has well-established health risks including causing liver disease (ALD) characterized by alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), fibrosis, cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Strikingly, a significant number of individuals who abuse alcohol also use Cannabis, which has seen increased legalization globally. While cannabis has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, its combined use with alcohol and the development of liver disease remains unclear.

To determine the effects of cannabis use on the incidence of liver disease in individuals who abuse alcohol.

We analyzed the 2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project – Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) discharge records of patients 18years and older, who had a past or current history of abusive alcohol use(n=319,514). Using the International Classification of Disease, Ninth Edition codes, we studied the four distinct phases of progressive ALD with respect to three cannabisexposure groups: non-cannabis-users (90.39%), non-dependent-cannabis-users (8.26%) and dependent cannabis users (1.36%). We accounted for the complex survey sampling methodology and estimated the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for developing AS, AH, AC and HCC with respect to cannabis use (SAS 9.4).

 

Our study revealed that among alcohol users, individuals who additionally use cannabis (dependent and non-dependent cannabis use) showed significantly lower odds of developing AS, AH, AC and HCC (AOR: 0.55[0.48-0.64], 0.57[0.53-0.61], 0.45[0.43-0.48] & 0.62[0.51-0.76]). Further, dependent users had significantly lower odds than non-dependent users for developing liver disease.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with reduced incidence of liver disease in alcoholics.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29341392

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/liv.13696/abstract

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Inverse association of marijuana use with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease among adults in the United States.

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“The impact of marijuana on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is largely unknown. We studied the association between marijuana and NAFLD utilizing cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005-2014 and NHANES III (1988-1994).

RESULTS:

Of the 14,080 (NHANES 2005-2014) and 8,286 (NHANES III) participants, prevalence of suspected NAFLD and ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD were inversely associated with marijuana use (p < 0.001). Compared to marijuana-naïve participants, marijuana users were less likely to have suspected NAFLD (odds ratio [OR]: 0.90, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.82-0.99 for past user; OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.58-0.80 for current user) and ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD (OR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.57-0.98 for current user) in the age, gender, ethnicity-adjusted model. On multivariate analysis, the ORs for suspected NAFLD comparing current light or heavy users to non-users were 0.76 (95% CI 0.58-0.98) and 0.70 (95% CI 0.56-0.89), respectively (P for trend = 0.001) with similar trends in ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD (OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.59-1.00 for current user; OR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.51-0.97 for current light user). In insulin resistance-adjusted model, marijuana use remained an independent predictor of lower risk of suspected NAFLD.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this nationally representative sample, active marijuana use provided a protective effect against NAFLD independent of known metabolic risk factors. The pathophysiology is unclear and warrants further investigation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29049354

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186702

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Cannabinoid Receptor 1 Participates in Liver Inflammation by Promoting M1 Macrophage Polarization via RhoA/NF-κB p65 and ERK1/2 Pathways, Respectively, in Mouse Liver Fibrogenesis.

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“Macrophage M1/M2 polarization mediates tissue damage and inflammatory responses. Cannabinoid receptor (CB) 1 participated in liver fibrogenesis by affecting bone marrow (BM)-derived monocytes/macrophages (BMMs) activation. However, the knowledge of whether CB1 is involved in the polarization of BMMs remains limited.

Here, we found M1 gene signatures (including CD86, MIP-1β, tumor necrosis factor, IL-6, and inducible nitric oxide synthase) and the amount of M1 macrophages (CD86+ cells, gated by F4/80) were significantly elevated in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced mouse injured livers, while that of M2 type macrophages had little change by RT-qPCR and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS).

Our preceding study confirmed CB1 was involved in CCl4-induced liver fibrogenesis. Our results noted CB1 expression showed positive correlation with CD86. Blockade of CB1 by its antagonist or siRNA in vivo downregulated the mRNA and protein levels of M1 markers using RT-qPCR, western blot, and Cytometric Bead Array (CBA) assays, and reduced the proportion of M1 macrophages. Moreover, chimera mouse models, which received BM transplants from EGFP-transgenic mice or clodronate liposome injection mouse models, in which Kupffer cells were depleted, were performed to clarify the role of CB1 on the polarization of Kupffer cells and BMMs.

We found that CB1 was especially involved in BMM polarization toward M1 phenotype but have no effect on that of Kupffer cells. The reason might due to the lower CB1 expression in Kupffer cells than that of BMMs. In vitro, we discovered CB1 was involved in the polarization of BMMs toward M1. Furthermore, CB1-induced M1 polarization was apparently impaired by PTX [G(α)i/o protein inhibitor], Y27632 (ROCK inhibitor), and PD98059 [extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) inhibitor], while SB203580 (p38 inhibitor) and compound C (AMPK inhibitor) had no such effect. ACEA (CB1 agonist) activated G(α)i/o coupled CB1, then enlarged GTP-bound Rho and phosphor-ERK1/2, independently. NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation is also a marker of M1 phenotype macrophages. We found that CB1 switched on NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation only depending on G(α)i/o/RhoA signaling pathway.

CONCLUSION:

CB1 plays a crucial role in regulating M1 polarization of BMMs in liver injury, depending on two independent signaling pathways: G(α)i/o/RhoA/NF-κB p65 and G(α)i/o/ERK1/2 pathways.”

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