“Cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) is the primary receptor pathway mediating the immunologic consequences of cannabinoids.
We recently reported that human peripheral blood B cells express CB2 on both the extracellular membrane and at intracellular sites, where-as monocytes and T cells only express intracellular CB2. To better understand the pattern of CB2 expression by human B cells, we examined CD20+ B cells from three tissue sources.
Both surface and intracellular expression were present and uniform in cord blood B cells, where all cells exhibited a naïve mature phenotype (IgD+/CD38Dim). While naïve mature and quiescent memory B cells (IgD–/CD38–) from tonsils and peripheral blood exhibited a similar pattern, tonsillar activated B cells (IgD–/CD38+) expressed little to no surface CB2.
We hypothesized that regulation of the surface CB2 receptor may occur during B cell activation. Consistent with this, a B cell lymphoma cell line known to exhibit an activated phenotype (SUDHL-4) was found to lack cell surface CB2 but express intracellular CB2.
Furthermore, in vitro activation of human cord blood resulted in a down-regulation of surface CB2 on those B cells acquiring the activated phenotype but not on those retaining IgD expression. Using a CB2 expressing cell line (293 T/CB2-GFP), confocal microscopy confirmed the presence of both cell surface expression and multifocal intracellular expression, the latter of which co-localized with endoplasmic reticulum but not with mitochondria, lysosomes, or nucleus.
Our findings suggest a dynamic multi-compartment expression pattern for CB2 in B cells that is specifically modulated during the course of B cell activation.”