Parameters of the Endocannabinoid System as Novel Biomarkers in Sepsis and Septic Shock.

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“Sepsis represents a dysregulated immune response to infection, with a continuum of severity progressing to septic shock. This dysregulated response generally follows a pattern by which an initial hyperinflammatory phase is followed by a state of sepsis-associated immunosuppression.

Major challenges in improving sepsis care include developing strategies to ensure early and accurate identification and diagnosis of the disease process, improving our ability to predict outcomes and stratify patients, and the need for novel sepsis-specific treatments such as immunomodulation.

Biomarkers offer promise with all three of these challenges and are likely also to be the solution to determining a patient’s immune status; something that is critical in guiding effective and safe immunomodulatory therapy. Currently available biomarkers used in sepsis lack sensitivity and specificity, among other significant shortcomings.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an emerging topic of research with evidence suggesting a ubiquitous presence on both central and peripheral tissues, including an intrinsic link with immune function. This review will first discuss the state of sepsis biomarkers and lack of available treatments, followed by an introduction to the ECS and a discussion of its potential to provide novel biomarkers and treatments.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29104224

http://www.mdpi.com/2218-1989/7/4/55

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Targeting the Endocannabinoid System to Treat Sepsis

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“Sepsis is a complex immune disorder that can affect the function of almost all organ systems in the body. This disorder is characterised by a malfunctioning immune response to an infection that involves both pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive mediators. This leads to severe damage and failure of vital organs, resulting in patient death. Sepsis, septic shock, and systemic inflammatory response syndrome are the leading causes of mortality in surgical intensive care unit patients internationally.

The current lack of viable therapeutic treatment options for sepsis underscores our insufficient understanding of this complex disease. The endocannabinoid system, a key regulator of essential physiological functions including the immune system, has recently emerged as a potential therapeutic target for sepsis treatment. The endocannabinoid system acquires its name from the plant Cannabis Sativa, which has been used medically to treat a variety of ailments, as well as recreationally for centuries. Cannabis Sativa contains more than 60 active phytocannabinoids with the primary phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), (6) activating both endogenous endocannabinoid receptors.

The endocannabinoid system represents a potential therapeutic target in sepsis due to the presence of cannabinoid receptors (CB2) on immune cells. In this review we discuss how various targets within the endocannabinoid system can be manipulated to treat the immune consequences of sepsis. One of the targets outlined are the endocannabinoid receptors and modulation of their activity through pharmacological agonists and antagonists. Another therapeutic target covered in this review is the modulation of the endocannabinoid degradative enzyme’s activity. Modulation of degradative enzyme activity can change the levels of endogenous cannabinoids thereby altering immune activity. Overall, activation of the CB2 receptors causes immunosuppression and can be beneficial during the hyperactivated immune state of sepsis, while suppression of the CB2 receptors may be beneficial during a hypoimmune septic state.

The endocannabinoid system modulates the immune response in experimental sepsis. Manipulating the endocannabinoid system may have potential therapeutic benefit in clinical sepsis where immune and inflammatory dysfunction can be detrimental. Multiple targets exist within the endocannabinoid system, e.g. the system can be targeted at the level of receptors by administration of synthetic compounds, similar to the endocannabinoids, which either increase or inhibit receptor activation to provide the desired therapeutic effect. Alternatively, the endogenous enzymes that degrade endocannabinoids or cannabinoid-like lipids can also be targeted in order to manipulate the levels of endocannabinoids. Proper identification of the septic stage is crucial to determine the adequate therapeutic response that will be most beneficial. Due to the biphasic nature of sepsis immunopathology, immune suppression through endocannabinoid modulation can help mitigate the hyper-immune response during the early septic state, while immune activation may be beneficial in later stages.” http://www.signavitae.com/2013/05/targeting-the-endocannabinoid-system-to-treat-sepsis/

Targeting the Endocannabinoid System to Treat Sepsis

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Treatment with cannabidiol reverses oxidative stress parameters, cognitive impairment and mortality in rats submitted to sepsis by cecal ligation and puncture.

Brain Research

“Oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of cognitive impairment in sepsis. Here we assess the effects of acute and extended administration of cannabidiol (CBD) on oxidative stress parameters in peripheral organs and in the brain, cognitive impairment, and mortality in rats submitted to sepsis by cecal ligation and perforation (CLP).

Our data provide the first experimental demonstration that CBD reduces the consequences of sepsis induced by CLP in rats, by decreasing oxidative stress in peripheral organs and in the brain, improving impaired cognitive function, and decreasing mortality.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20561509

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006899310013582?via%3Dihub

“Antioxidant treatment reverses mitochondrial dysfunction in a sepsis animal model.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18417427

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In vitro Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activity of Extracts from Six Chemotypes of Medicinal Cannabis

“Nowadays, medicinal cannabis (Cannabis sativa L) is in the focus of the researches not only for its high content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but for other cannabinoids as well.

It has been reported that some of the identified substances (e.g. cannabidiol, cannabinochromene) possess anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which corresponds to its traditional use as wound healing agent at Pakistan.

The aim of this study was to evaluate antimicrobial and antioxidant ability of extracts from high potent Cannabis sativa chemotypes.

The six ethanolic extracts prepared from dried inflorescence of five medicinal cannabis chemotypes (Nurse Jackie, Jilly Bean, Nordle, Jack Cleaner, Conspiracy Kush) were tested by standard microdilution method against Staphylococcus aureus (three strains), Streptococcus pyogenes and the yeast Candida albicans.

Those microbial strains are present on skin and can cause complication during wound healing process.

The antioxidative activity, which plays an important role in wound healing process, was tested by oxygen radical absorbance capacity test (ORAC).

All tested extracts demonstrated high antimicrobial activity against two strains of S. aureus and S. pyogenes (MIC ranged from 4 – 16 µg·mL-1), moreover high antioxidant capacity was observed (ORAC ranged from 800 – 1300 µg TE/mg of extract).

The results indicate that cannabis has high potential to be used in ointments and other material for wound healing.

However, further research on the identification of the active components is needed.”

https://www.thieme-connect.com/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-0036-1596302

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ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM: A multi-facet therapeutic target.

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“Cannabis sativa is also popularly known as marijuana. It is being cultivated and used by man for recreational and medicinal purposes from many centuries.

Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most of the countries.

The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and down in recent past. Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids has role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions.

Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.

Presently, cannabinoid receptor agonists like nabilone and dronabinol are used for reducing the chemotherapy induced vomiting. Sativex (cannabidiol and THC combination) is approved in the UK, Spain and New Zealand to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. In US it is under investigation for cancer pain, another drug Epidiolex (cannabidiol) is also under investigation in US for childhood seizures. Rimonabant, CB1 receptor antagonist appeared as a promising anti-obesity drug during clinical trials but it also exhibited remarkable psychiatric side effect profile. Due to which the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve Rimonabant in US. It sale was also suspended across the EU in 2008.

Recent discontinuation of clinical trial related to FAAH inhibitor due to occurrence of serious adverse events in the participating subjects could be discouraging for the research fraternity. Despite of some mishaps in clinical trials related to drugs acting on endocannabinoid system, still lot of research is being carried out to explore and establish the therapeutic targets for both cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists.

One challenge is to develop drugs that target only cannabinoid receptors in a particular tissue and another is to invent drugs that acts selectively on cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood brain barrier. Besides this, development of the suitable dosage forms with maximum efficacy and minimum adverse effects is also warranted.

Another angle to be introspected for therapeutic abilities of this group of drugs is non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptor targets for cannabinoids.

In order to successfully exploit the therapeutic potential of endocannabinoid system, it is imperative to further characterize the endocannabinoid system in terms of identification of the exact cellular location of cannabinoid receptors and their role as “protective” and “disease inducing substance”, time-dependent changes in the expression of cannabinoid receptors.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27086601

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Cannabinoid-induced apoptosis in immune cells as a pathway to immunosuppression.

Fig. 1

“Cannabinoids are a group of compounds found in the marijuana plant (Cannabis sativaL.). Marijuana has been used both for recreational and medicinal purposes for several centuries.

Cannabinoids have been shown to be effective in the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, anorexia and cachexia seen in HIV/AIDS patients, as well as neuropathic pain, and spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

More recently, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids are drawing significant attention. In the last 15 years, studies with marijuana cannabinoids led to the discovery of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and their endogenous ligands, which make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabinoids are a group of compounds present in Cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.). They mediate their physiological and behavioral effects by activating specific cannabinoid receptors. With the recent discovery of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and the endocannabinoid system, research in this field has expanded exponentially.

Cannabinoids have been shown to act as potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory agents and have been shown to mediate beneficial effects in a wide range of immune-mediated diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, septic shock, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergic asthma.

Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is mainly expressed on the cells of the central nervous system as well as in the periphery. In contrast, cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is predominantly expressed on immune cells. The precise mechanisms through which cannabinoids mediate immunosuppression is only now beginning to be understood…

In this review, we will focus on apoptotic mechanisms of immunosuppression mediated by cannabinoids on different immune cell populations and discuss how activation of CB2 provides a novel therapeutic modality against inflammatory and autoimmune diseases as well as malignancies of the immune system, without exerting the untoward psychotropic effects…

…cannabinoids do induce apoptosis in immune cells, alleviating inflammatory responses and protecting the host from acute and chronic inflammation.

The cumulative effect of cannabinoids on all cell populations of the immune system can be beneficial, when there is a need for immune suppression.

For example, in patients with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis and lupus, or in those with septic shock, where the disease is caused by activated immune cells, targeting the immune cells via CB2 agonists may trigger apoptosis and act as anti-inflammatory therapy.

CB2 select agonists are not psychoactive and because CB2 is expressed primarily in immune cells, use of CB2 agonists could provide a novel therapeutic modality against autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

In addition to the use of exogenous cannabinoids, in vivo manipulation of endocannabinoids may also offer novel treatment opportunities against cancer and autoimmune diseases.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005548/

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Novel approaches to the development of anti-sepsis drugs.

“Sepsis is the dysregulated systemic immune response to an infection…

The authors discuss specific pharmacological approaches with a focus on immune modulation, for example, Toll-like receptor 4 inhibition and modulation of the endocannabinoid system.”

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24697209

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/category/sepsis-2/

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CB2 cannabinoid receptors contribute to bacterial invasion and mortality in polymicrobial sepsis.

“Sepsis is a major healthcare problem and current estimates suggest that the incidence of sepsis is approximately 750,000 annually. Sepsis is caused by an inability of the immune system to eliminate invading pathogens.

Here we examined the role of CB(2) receptors in regulating the host’s response to sepsis…

Taken together, our results establish for the first time that CB(2) receptors are important contributors to septic immune dysfunction and mortality, indicating that CB(2) receptors may be therapeutically targeted for the benefit of patients suffering from sepsis.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2712683/

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Cannabinoid receptor 1 inhibition improves the intestinal microcirculation.

“The data supports the involvement of the CB1R signaling in leukocyte activation during sepsis. Drugs targeting the CB1R may have therapeutic potential in systemic inflammation, such as sepsis.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23334604

“Cannabinoid receptor 1 inhibition causes seizures during anesthesia induction in experimental sepsis… The data suggest that CB1R inhibition in combination with pentobarbital may increase the incidence of anesthetic-induced seizures in the case of sepsis.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22504215

 

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