“The brain is enriched in arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) of the n-6 and n-3 series, respectively. Both are essential for optimal brain development and function. Dietary enrichment with DHA and other long-chain n-3 PUFA, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), has shown beneficial effects on learning and memory, neuroinflammatory processes, and synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. ARA, DHA and EPA are precursors to a diverse repertoire of bioactive lipid mediators, including endocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoid system comprises cannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands, the endocannabinoids, and their biosynthetic and degradation enzymes. Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are the most widely studied endocannabinoids and are both derived from phospholipid-bound ARA. The endocannabinoid system also has well-established roles in neuroinflammation, synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis, suggesting an overlap in the neuroprotective effects observed with these different classes of lipids.
Indeed, growing evidence suggests a complex interplay between n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA and the endocannabinoid system. For example, long-term DHA and EPA supplementation reduces AEA and 2-AG levels, with reciprocal increases in levels of the analogous endocannabinoid-like DHA and EPA-derived molecules. This review summarises current evidence of this interplay and discusses the therapeutic potential for brain protection and repair.”
“The seed of Cannabis sativa L. has been an important source of nutrition for thousands of years in Old World cultures. Technically a nut, hempseed typically contains over 30% oil and about 25% protein, with considerable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Hempseed oil is over 80% in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and is an exceptionally rich source of the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) linoleic acid (18:2 omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-3). The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (n6/n3) in hempseed oil is normally between 2:1 and 3:1, which is considered to be optimal for human health. Hempseed has been used to treat various disorders for thousands of years in traditional oriental medicine.” http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10681-004-4811-6
“Acute kidney injury (AKI) is associated with a significantly increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a major cause of AKI. In this study, we investigated the role of the endocannabinoid (EC) system in renal IRI using a well-established mouse model.
Results: Renal IRI was associated with significantly increased serum BUN and creatinine, increased tubular damage score, increased expression of renal markers of inflammation and oxidative stress and elevated renal 2-AG content. Pretreatment with JZL184 was associated with a significant increase in renal 2-AG content and there was also improved serum BUN, creatinine and tubular damage score. However, renal expression of inflammation and oxidative stress markers remained unchanged.
Conclusions: This is the first report documenting that renal IRI is associated with an increase in kidney 2-AG content. Further enhancement of 2-AG levels using JZL184 improved indices of renal function and histology, but did not lower renal expression of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Further studies are needed to determine the mechanisms responsible for the effects observed and the potential value of 2-AG as a therapeutic target in renal IRI.”
“The CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R, CB2R) are members of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family that were identified over 20 years ago. CB1Rs and CB2Rs mediate the effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the principal psychoactive constituent of marijuana, and subsequently identified endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol. CB1Rs and CB2Rs have both similarities and differences in their pharmacology. Both receptors recognize multiple classes of agonist and antagonist compounds and produce an array of distinct downstream effects. Natural polymorphisms and alternative splice variants may also contribute to their pharmacological diversity. As our knowledge of the distinct differences grows, we may be able to target select receptor conformations and their corresponding pharmacological responses. This chapter will discuss their pharmacological characterization, distribution, phylogeny, and signaling pathways. In addition, the effects of extended agonist exposure and how that affects signaling and expression patterns of the receptors are considered.”
“Identification of the two major endogenous cannabinoid ligands, known as endocannabinoids, N-arachidonoyl-ethanolamine (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG), opened the way for the identification and isolation of other lipid congeners, all derivatives of fatty acids and related to the Endocannabinoid System. The nomenclature of this anandamide-type class of lipids is evolving as new species are discovered all the time. However, they each fall under the larger umbrella of lipids that are a conjugation of a fatty acid with an amine through and amide bond, which we will refer to as lipoamines. Specific subspecies of lipoamines that have been discovered are the N-acyl-ethanolamides (including AEA), N-acyl-dopamines, N-acyl-serotonins, N-acyl-GABA, N-acyl-taurines, and a growing number of N-acyl amino acids. Emerging data from multiple labs also show that monoacylglycerols (including 2-AG), COX-2 metabolites, and fatty acid esters of hydroxyl fatty acids are interconnected with these lipoamines at both the biosynthetic and metabolic levels. Understanding the molecular relatedness of these lipids is important for studying how they act as signaling molecules; however, a first step in this process hinges on advances in being able to accurately measure them.”
“The endocannabinoid (eCB) neurotransmitter system regulates diverse neurological functions including stress and anxiety, pain, mood, and reward. Understanding the mechanisms underlying eCB regulation is critical for developing targeted pharmacotherapies to treat these and other neurologic disorders.
Cellular studies suggest that the arachidonate eCBs, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are substrates for intracellular binding and transport proteins, and several candidate proteins have been identified. Initial evidence from our laboratory indicates that the lipid transport protein, sterol carrier protein 2 (SCP-2), binds to the eCBs and can regulate their cellular concentrations.
Here, we present methods for evaluating SCP-2 binding of eCBs and their application to the discovery of the first inhibitor lead molecules. Using a fluorescent probe displacement assay, we found SCP-2 binds the eCBs, AEA (Ki=0.68±0.05μM) and 2-AG (Ki=0.37±0.02μM), with moderate affinity. A series of structurally diverse arachidonate analogues also bind SCP-2 with Ki values between 0.82 and 2.95μM, suggesting a high degree of tolerance for arachidonic acid head group modifications in this region of the protein. We also report initial structure-activity relationships surrounding previously reported inhibitors of Aedis aegypti SCP-2, and the results of an in silico high-throughput screen that identified structurally novel SCP-2 inhibitor leads.
The methods and results reported here provide the basis for a robust probe discovery effort to fully elucidate the role of facilitated transport mediated by SCP-2 in eCB regulation and function.”
“Inhibition of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the primary enzyme that hydrolyzes the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, produces profound anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects and improves synaptic and cognitive functions in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects produced by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism are still not clear.
The cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R) has been thought to be a therapeutic target for AD. Here, we provide evidence, however, that CB2R does not play a role in ameliorating AD neuropathology produced by inactivation of MAGL in 5XFAD APP transgenic mice, an animal model of AD.
Our results suggest that CB2R is not required in ameliorating neuropathology and preventing cognitive decline by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism in AD model animals.”
“In the era of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is considered a chronic disease that specifically targets the brain and causes HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Endocannabinoids (eCBs) elicit neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory actions in several central nervous system (CNS) disease models, but their effects in HAND remain unknown. HIV-1 does not infect neurons, but produces viral toxins, such as transactivator of transcription (Tat), that disrupt neuronal calcium equilibrium and give rise to synaptodendritic injuries and cell death, the former being highly correlated with HAND. Consequently, we tested whether the eCBs N-arachidonoyl ethanolamine (anandamide/AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG) offer neuroprotective actions in a neuronal culture model. Specifically, we examined the neuroprotective actions of these eCBs on Tat excitotoxicity in primary cultures of prefrontal cortex neurons (PFC), and whether cannabinoid receptors mediate this neuroprotection. Tat-induced excitotoxicity was reflected by increased intracellular calcium levels, synaptodendritic damage, neuronal excitability, and neuronal death. Further, upregulation of cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R) protein levels was noted in the presence of HIV-1 Tat. The direct application of AEA and 2-AG reduced excitotoxic levels of intracellular calcium and promoted neuronal survival following Tat exposure, which was prevented by the CB1R antagonist rimonabant, but not by the CB2R antagonist AM630. Overall, our findings indicate that eCBs protect PFC neurons from Tat excitotoxicity in vitro via a CB1R-related mechanism. Thus, the eCB system possesses promising targets for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders associated with HIV-1 infection.”
“Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are lipid derivatives of omega-3 (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) or of omega-6 (arachidonic acid, ARA) synthesized from membrane phospholipids and used as a precursor for endocannabinoids (ECs). They mediate significant effects in the fine-tune adjustment of body homeostasis. Phyto- and synthetic cannabinoids also rule the daily life of billions worldwide, as they are involved in obesity, depression and drug addiction. Consequently, there is growing interest to reveal novel active compounds in this field. Cloning of cannabinoid receptors in the 90s and the identification of the endogenous mediators arachidonylethanolamide (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonyglycerol (2-AG), led to the characterization of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), together with their metabolizing enzymes and membrane transporters. Today, the ECS is known to be involved in diverse functions such as appetite control, food intake, energy balance, neuroprotection, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, mood disorders, emesis, modulation of pain, inflammatory responses, as well as in cancer therapy. Western diet as well as restriction of micronutrients and fatty acids, such as DHA, could be related to altered production of pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g. eicosanoids) and ECs, contributing to the progression of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, depression or impairing conditions, such as Alzheimer’ s disease. Here we review how diets based in PUFAs might be linked to ECS and to the maintenance of central and peripheral metabolism, brain plasticity, memory and learning, blood flow, and genesis of neural cells.”
“Several studies highlight a key involvement of endocannabinoid (EC) system in autism pathophysiology. The EC system is a complex network of lipid signaling pathways comprised of arachidonic acid-derived compounds (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), their G-protein-coupled receptors (cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2) and the associated enzymes. In addition to autism, the EC system is also involved in several other psychiatric disorders (i.e., anxiety, major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). This system is a key regulator of metabolic and cellular pathways involved in autism, such as food intake, energy metabolism and immune system control. Early studies in autism animal models have demonstrated alterations in the brain’s EC system. Autism is also characterized by immune system dysregulation. This alteration includes differential monocyte and macrophage responses, and abnormal cytokine and T cell levels. EC system dysfunction in a monocyte and macrophagic cellular model of autism has been demonstrated by showing that the mRNA and protein for CB2 receptor and EC enzymes were significantly dysregulated, further indicating the involvement of the EC system in autism-associated immunological disruptions. Taken together, these new findings offer a novel perspective in autism research and indicate that the EC system could represent a novel target option for autism pharmacotherapy.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28671614
“The balance between detrimental, pro-aging, often stochastic processes and counteracting homeostatic mechanisms largely determines the progression of aging. There is substantial evidence suggesting that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is part of the latter system because it modulates the physiological processes underlying aging.
The activity of the ECS declines during aging, as CB1 receptor expression and coupling to G proteins are reduced in the brain tissues of older animals and the levels of the major endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are lower. However, a direct link between endocannabinoid tone and aging symptoms has not been demonstrated.
Here we show that a low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reversed the age-related decline in cognitive performance of mice aged 12 and 18 months. This behavioral effect was accompanied by enhanced expression of synaptic marker proteins and increased hippocampal spine density.
THC treatment restored hippocampal gene transcription patterns such that the expression profiles of THC-treated mice aged 12 months closely resembled those of THC-free animals aged 2 months. The transcriptional effects of THC were critically dependent on glutamatergic CB1 receptors and histone acetylation, as their inhibition blocked the beneficial effects of THC.
Thus, restoration of CB1 signaling in old individuals could be an effective strategy to treat age-related cognitive impairments.”