The Role of CB2 Receptor in the Recovery of Mice after Traumatic Brain Injury.

 Journal of Neurotrauma cover image“Cannabis is one of the most widely used plant drugs in the world today. In spite of the large number of scientific reports on medical marijuana there still exists much controversy surrounding its use and the potential for abuse due to the undesirable psychotropic effects. However, recent developments in medicinal chemistry of novel non-psychoactive synthetic cannabinoids have indicated that it is possible to separate some of the therapeutic effects from the psychoactivity. We have previously shown that treatment with the endocannabinoid 2-AG that binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors 1 hr after traumatic brain injury in mice attenuates neurological deficits, edema formation, infarct volume, blood-brain barrier permeability, neuronal cell loss at the CA3 hippocampal region and neuroinflammation. Recently, we synthesized a set of camphor-resorcinol derivatives, which represent a novel series of CB2 receptor selective ligands. Most of the novel compounds exhibited potent binding and agonistic properties at the CB2 receptors, with very low affinity for the CB1 receptor, and some were highly anti-inflammatory. This selective binding correlated with their intrinsic activities. HU-910 and HU-914 were selected in the present study to evaluate their potential effect in the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In mice and rats, subjected to closed head injury and treated with these novel compounds, we showed enhanced neurobehavioral recovery, inhibition of TNF-alpha production, increased synaptogenesis and partial recovery of the cortical spinal tract. We propose these CB2 agonists as potential drugs for development of novel therapeutic modality to TBI.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30489198

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/neu.2018.6063

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Inhibition of Monoacylglycerol Lipase Reduces the Reinstatement of Methamphetamine-Seeking and Anxiety-Like Behaviors in Methamphetamine Self-Administered Rats.

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“Methamphetamine is a highly addictive psychostimulant with reinforcing properties. Our laboratory previously found that Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol, an exogenous cannabinoid, suppressed the reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking behavior.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the elevation of endocannabinoids modulates the reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking behavior and emotional changes in methamphetamine self-administered rats.

RESULTS:

JZL184 (32 and 40 mg/kg, i.p.), an inhibitor of monoacylglycerol lipase, significantly attenuated both the cue- and stress-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking behavior. Furthermore, URB597 (3.2 and 10 mg/kg, i.p.), an inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase, attenuated only cue-induced reinstatement. AM251, a cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist, antagonized the attenuation of cue-induced reinstatement by JZL184 but not URB597. Neither JZL184 nor URB597 reinstated methamphetamine-seeking behavior when administered alone. In the elevated plus-maze test, rats that were in withdrawal from methamphetamine self-administration spent less time in the open arms. JZL184 ameliorated the decrease in time spent in the open arms.

CONCLUSION:

We showed that JZL184 reduced both the cue- and stress-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking and anxiety-like behaviors in rats that had self-administered methamphetamine. It was suggested that a decrease in 2-arachidonoylglycerol in the brain could drive the reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking and anxiety-like behaviors.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30481332

https://academic.oup.com/ijnp/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ijnp/pyy086/5210886

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Cannabis sativa: A comprehensive ethnopharmacological review of a medicinal plant with a long history.

Journal of Ethnopharmacology

“Cannabis sativa L. (C. sativa) is an annual dioecious plant, which shares its origins with the inception of the first agricultural human societies in Asia. Over the course of time different parts of the plant have been utilized for therapeutic and recreational purposes, for instance, extraction of healing oils from seed, or the use of inflorescences for their psychoactive effects. The key psychoactive constituent in C. sativa is called Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC). The endocannabinoid system seems to be phylogenetically ancient, as it was present in the most primitive vertebrates with a neuronal network. N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) are the main endocannabinoids ligands present in the animal kingdom, and the main endocannabinoid receptors are cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptor and cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptor.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

The review aims to provide a critical and comprehensive evaluation, from the ancient times to our days, of the ethnological, botanical, chemical and pharmacological aspects of C. sativa, with a vision for promoting further pharmaceutical research to explore its complete potential as a therapeutic agent.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

A detailed comparative analysis of the available resources for C. sativa confirmed its origin and traditional spiritual, household and therapeutic uses and most importantly its popularity as a recreational drug. The result of several studies suggested a deeper involvement of phytocannabinoids (the key compounds in C. sativa) in several others central and peripheral pathophysiological mechanisms such as food intake, inflammation, pain, colitis, sleep disorders, neurological and psychiatric illness. However, despite their numerous medicinal benefits, they are still considered as a menace to the society and banned throughout the world, except for few countries. We believe that this review will help lay the foundation for promoting exhaustive pharmacological and pharmaceutical studies in order to better understand the clinical relevance and applications of non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the prevention and treatment of life-threatening diseases and help to improve the legal status of C. sativa.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30205181

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874118316611?via%3Dihub

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Endocannabinoid system, Stress and HPA axis.

European Journal of Pharmacology

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is composed of the cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) for marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC), the endogenous ligands (AEA and 2-AG) and the enzymatic systems involved in their biosynthesis and degradation, recently emerged as important modulator of emotional and non-emotional behaviors. In addition to its recreational actions, some of the earliest reports regarding the effects of Cannabis use on humans were related to endocrine system changes. Accordingly, the ∆9-THC and later on, the ECS signaling have long been known to regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is the major neuroendocrine stress response system of mammals. However, how the ECS could modify the stress hormone secretion is not fully understood. Thus, the present article reviews current available knowledge on the role of the ECS signaling as important mediator of interaction between HPA axis activity and stressful conditions, which, in turn could be involved in the development of psychiatric disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30036537

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299918304138?via%3Dihub

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Modulation of the Oxidative Stress and Lipid Peroxidation by Endocannabinoids and Their Lipid Analogues.

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“Growing evidence supports the pivotal role played by oxidative stress in tissue injury development, thus resulting in several pathologies including cardiovascular, renal, neuropsychiatric, and neurodegenerative disorders, all characterized by an altered oxidative status. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and lipid peroxidation-derived reactive aldehydes including acrolein, malondialdehyde, and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, among others, are the main responsible for cellular and tissue damages occurring in redox-dependent processes.

In this scenario, a link between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and redox homeostasis impairment appears to be crucial. Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, the best characterized endocannabinoids, are able to modulate the activity of several antioxidant enzymes through targeting the cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 as well as additional receptors such as the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha, and the orphan G protein-coupled receptors 18 and 55.

Moreover, the endocannabinoids lipid analogues N-acylethanolamines showed to protect cell damage and death from reactive aldehydes-induced oxidative stress by restoring the intracellular oxidants-antioxidants balance. In this review, we will provide a better understanding of the main mechanisms triggered by the cross-talk between the oxidative stress and the ECS, focusing also on the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants as scavengers of reactive aldehydes and their toxic bioactive adducts.”

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Inhibition of endocannabinoid degradation rectifies motivational and dopaminergic deficits in the Q175 mouse model of Huntington’s disease.

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“Prominent motor deficits (e.g., chorea) that typify Huntington’s disease (HD) arise following a prolonged prodromal stage characterized by psychiatric disturbances. Apathy, a disorder of motivation characterized by diminished goal-directed behavior, is one of the earliest and most common psychiatric symptoms in HD, but the underlying neurobiology is unclear and treatment options are limited.

Alterations in the endocannabinoid (eCB) and dopamine systems represent prominent pathophysiological markers in HD that-similar to motivational deficits-present early and decline across disease progression. Whether changes in dopamine and eCB systems are associated with specific behavioral impairments in HD and whether these deficits are amenable to viable treatments is unknown.

Here, we show that dopaminergic encoding of effortful drive progressively declines with age in an HD mouse model, and is restored by elevating tissue levels of the eCB 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) through targeted inhibition of its enzymatic degradation.

This work supports aberrant dopaminergic encoding of reward as a neurobiological correlate of apathy in HD, and indicates that cannabinoid receptor-based therapies may benefit neuropsychiatric care for HD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29925886

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41386-018-0107-8

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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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Ischemia/Reperfusion Model Impairs Endocannabinoid Signaling and Na+/K+ ATPase Expression and Activity in Kidney Proximal Tubule Cells.

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“LLC-PK1 cells, an immortalized epithelial cell line derived from pig renal proximal tubules, express all the major players of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) such as CB1, CB2 and TRPV1 receptor, as well as the main enzymes involved in the biosynthesis and degradation of the major endocannabinoids named 2-arachidonoylglycerol, 2-AG and anandamide, AEA.

Here we investigated whether the damages caused by ischemic insult either in vitro using LLC-PK1 cells exposed to antimycin A (an inductor of ATP-depletion) or in vivo using Wistar rats in a classic renal ischemia and reperfusion (IR) protocol, lead to changes in AEA and 2-AG levels, as well as altered expression of genes from the main enzymes involved in the regulation of the ECS.

Our data show that the mRNA levels of CB1 receptor gene were downregulated, while the transcript levels of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the main 2-AG degradative enzyme, are upregulated in LLC-PK1 cells after IR model. Accordingly, IR was accompanied by a significant reduction in the levels of 2-AG and AEA, as well as of the two endocannabinoid related molecules, oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) in LLC-PK1 cells. In kidney cortex homogenates, the AEA levels were selectively significantly decreased. In addition, we found that both the in vitro and in vivo model of IR caused a reduction in the expression and activity of the Na+/K+ATPase. These changes were reversed by the CB1/CB2 agonist WIN55,212, in a CB1-receptor dependent manner on LLC-PK1 IR model.

In conclusion, the ECS and Na+/K+ ATPase are down-regulated following IR model in LLC-PK1 cells and rat kidney. We suggest that CB1 agonists might represent a potential strategy to reverse the consequences of IR injury in kidney tissues.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29890144

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006295218302132

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The relationship of endocannabinoidome lipid mediators with pain and psychological stress in women with fibromyalgia – a case control study.

“Characterized by chronic widespread pain, generalized hyperalgesia, and psychological stress fibromyalgia (FM) is difficult to diagnose and lacks effective treatments.

The endocannabinoids – arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and the related oleoylethanolamide (OEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), and stearoylethanolamide (SEA) – are endogenous lipid mediators with analgesic and anti-inflammatory characteristics, in company with psychological modulating properties (e.g., stress and anxiety), and are included in a new emerging “ome”, the endocannabinoidome.

This case -control study compared the concentration differences of AEA, OEA, PEA, SEA, and 2-AG in 104 women with FM and 116 healthy controls (CON). All participants OEArated their pain, anxiety, depression, and current health status. The relationships between the lipid concentrations and the clinical assessments were investigated using powerful multivariate data analysis and traditional bivariate statistics. The concentrations of OEA, PEA, SEA, and 2-AG were significantly higher in FM than in CON; significance remained for OEA and SEA after controlling for BMI and age. 2-AG correlated positively with FM duration and BMI, and to some extent negatively with pain, anxiety, depression, and health status. In FM, AEA correlated positively with depression ratings.

The elevated circulating levels of endocannabinoidome lipids suggest that these lipids play a role in the complex pathophysiology of FM and might be signs of ongoing low-grade inflammation in FM. Although the investigated lipids are significantly altered in FM their biological roles are uncertain with respect to the clinical manifestations of FM. Thus, plasma lipids alone are not good biomarkers for FM.

PERSPECTIVE:

This study reports about elevated plasma levels of endocannabinoidome lipid mediators in FM. The lipids suitability to work as biomarkers for FM in the clinic were low, however their altered levels indicate that a metabolic asymmetry is ongoing in FM, which could serve as basis during explorative FM pain management.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29885369

https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(18)30197-4/fulltext

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Endocannabinoid system and pathophysiology of adipogenesis: current management of obesity.

“The endocannabinoids are now known as novel and important regulators of energy metabolism and homeostasis.

The endocrine functions of white adipose are chiefly involved in the control of whole-body metabolism, insulin sensitivity and food intake. Adipocytes produce hormones, such as leptin and adiponectin, that can improve insulin resistance or peptides, such as TNF-α, that elicit insulin resistance. Adipocytes express specific receptors, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ, which serve as adipocyte targets for insulin sensitizers such as thiazolidinediones.

Recently, endocannabinoids and related compounds were identified in human fat cells.

The endocannabinoid system consists primarily of two receptors, cannabinoid (CB)1 and CB2, their endogenous ligands termed endocannabinoids and the enzymes responsible for ligand biosynthesis and degradation.

The endocannabinoids 2-arachidonylglycerol and anandamide or N-arachidonoylethanolamine increase food intake and promote weight gain in animals. Rimonabant, a selective CB1 blocker, reduces food intake and body weight in animals and humans.”

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