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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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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Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol induces endocannabinoid accumulation in mouse hepatocytes: antagonism by Fabp1 gene ablation.

The Journal of Lipid Research “Phytocannabinoids, such as Δ9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), bind and activate cannabinoid (CB) receptors, thereby “piggy-backing” on the same pathway’s endogenous endocannabinoids (ECs).

The recent discovery that liver fatty acid binding protein-1 (FABP1) is the major cytosolic “chaperone” protein with high affinity for both Δ9-THC and ECs suggests that Δ9-THC may alter hepatic EC levels.

Therefore, the impact of Δ9-THC or EC treatment on the levels of endogenous ECs, such as N-arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), was examined in cultured primary mouse hepatocytes from WT and Fabp1 gene-ablated (LKO) mice. Δ9-THC alone or 2-AG alone significantly increased AEA and especially 2-AG levels in WT hepatocytes. LKO alone markedly increased AEA and 2-AG levels. However, LKO blocked/diminished the ability of Δ9-THC to further increase both AEA and 2-AG. In contrast, LKO potentiated the ability of exogenous 2-AG to increase the hepatocyte level of AEA and 2-AG.

These and other data suggest that Δ9-THC increases hepatocyte EC levels, at least in part, by upregulating endogenous AEA and 2-AG levels.

This may arise from Δ9-THC competing with AEA and 2-AG binding to FABP1, thereby decreasing targeting of bound AEA and 2-AG to the degradative enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglyceride lipase, to decrease hydrolysis within hepatocytes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29414765

http://www.jlr.org/content/59/4/646

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Synergistic interactions of endogenous opioids and cannabinoid systems.

 Brain Research

“Cannabinoids and opioids are distinct drug classes historically used in combination to treat pain. Delta(9)-THC, an active constituent in marijuana, releases endogenous dynorphin A and leucine enkephalin in the production of analgesia.

The endocannabinoid, anandamide (AEA), fails to release dynorphin A. The synthetic cannabinoid, CP55,940, releases dynorphin B. Neither AEA nor CP55,940 enhances morphine analgesia. The CB1 antagonist, SR141716A, differentially blocks Delta(9)-THC versus AEA. Tolerance to Delta(9)-THC, but not AEA, involves a decrease in the release of dynorphin A.

Our preclinical studies indicate that Delta(9)-THC and morphine can be useful in low dose combination as an analgesic. Such is not observed with AEA or CP55,940.

We hypothesize the existence of a new CB receptor differentially linked to endogenous opioid systems based upon data showing the stereoselectivity of endogenous opioid release. Such a receptor, due to the release of endogenous opioids, may have significant impact upon the clinical development of cannabinoid/opioid combinations for the treatment of a variety of types of pain in humans.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10612710

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006899399019083?via%3Dihub

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Endocannabinoid System and Migraine Pain: An Update.

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“The trigeminovascular system (TS) activation and the vasoactive release from trigeminal endings, in proximity of the meningeal vessels, are considered two of the main effector mechanisms of migraine attacks. Several other structures and mediators are involved, however, both upstream and alongside the TS.

Among these, the endocannabinoid system (ES) has recently attracted considerable attention. Experimental and clinical data suggest indeed a link between dysregulation of this signaling complex and migraine headache.

Clinical observations, in particular, show that the levels of anandamide (AEA)-one of the two primary endocannabinoid lipids-are reduced in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma of patients with chronic migraine (CM), and that this reduction is associated with pain facilitation in the spinal cord.

AEA is produced on demand during inflammatory conditions and exerts most of its effects by acting on cannabinoid (CB) receptors. AEA is rapidly degraded by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme and its levels can be modulated in the peripheral and central nervous system (CNS) by FAAH inhibitors.

Inhibition of AEA degradation via FAAH is a promising therapeutic target for migraine pain, since it is presumably associated to an increased availability of the endocannabinoid, specifically at the site where its formation is stimulated (e.g., trigeminal ganglion and/or meninges), thus prolonging its action.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29615860

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00172/full

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Antiepileptogenic Effect of Subchronic Palmitoylethanolamide Treatment in a Mouse Model of Acute Epilepsy.

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“Research on the antiepileptic effects of (endo-)cannabinoids has remarkably progressed in the years following the discovery of fundamental role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in controlling neural excitability. Moreover, an increasing number of well-documented cases of epilepsy patients exhibiting multi-drug resistance report beneficial effects of cannabis use.

Pre-clinical and clinical research has increasingly focused on the antiepileptic effectiveness of exogenous administration of cannabinoids and/or pharmacologically induced increase of eCBs such as anandamide (also known as arachidonoylethanolamide [AEA]). Concomitant research has uncovered the contribution of neuroinflammatory processes and peripheral immunity to the onset and progression of epilepsy.

Accordingly, modulation of inflammatory pathways such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) was pursued as alternative therapeutic strategy for epilepsy. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endogenous fatty acid amide related to the centrally and peripherally present eCB AEA, and is a naturally occurring nutrient that has long been recognized for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Neuroprotective and anti-hyperalgesic properties of PEA were evidenced in neurodegenerative diseases, and antiepileptic effects in pentylenetetrazol (PTZ), maximal electroshock (MES) and amygdaloid kindling models of epileptic seizures. Moreover, numerous clinical trials in chronic pain revealed that PEA treatment is devoid of addiction potential, dose limiting side effects and psychoactive effects, rendering PEA an appealing candidate as antiepileptic compound or adjuvant.

In the present study, we aimed at assessing antiepileptic properties of PEA in a mouse model of acute epileptic seizures induced by systemic administration of kainic acid (KA).

Here, we demonstrate that subchronic administration of PEA significantly alleviates seizure intensity, promotes neuroprotection and induces modulation of the plasma and hippocampal eCB and eiC levels in systemic KA-injected mice.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29593494

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00067/full

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Modulation of central endocannabinoid system results in gastric mucosal protection in the rat.

Brain Research Bulletin

“Previous findings showed that inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), degrading enzymes of anandamide (2-AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), reduced the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastric lesions.

The present study aimed to investigate: i./whether central or peripheral mechanism play a major role in the gastroprotective effect of inhibitors of FAAH, MAGL and AEA uptake, ii./which peripheral mechanism(s) may play a role in mucosal protective effect of FAAH, MAGL and uptake inhibitors.

Gastric mucosal damage was induced by acidified ethanol.

 

CONCLUSION:

Elevation of central endocannabinoid levels by blocking their degradation or uptake via stimulation of mucosal defensive mechanisms resulted in gastroprotective action against ethanol-induced mucosal injury. These findings might suggest that central endocannabinoid system may play a role in gastric mucosal defense and maintenance of mucosal integrity.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29438780

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0361923017306044

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Reduced levels of the endocannabinoid arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) in hair in patients with borderline personality disorder – a pilot study.

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“Endocannabinoids are involved in depressive and anxious symptoms and might play a role in stress-associated psychiatric disorders.

While alterations in the endogenous cannabinoid system have been repeatedly found in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this system has been mostly neglected in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, there is first evidence for elevated serum levels of the endocannabinoids arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonyl-sn-glycerol (2-AG) in BPD patients compared to healthy controls and PTSD patients.

In this study, hair endocannabinoids were analyzed, reflecting long-term endocannabinoid concentrations. We assessed AEA concentrations as well as 2-AG and the 2-AG main isomer 1-AG (1-AG/2-AG) in hair in women with BPD (n = 15) and age- and education-matched healthy women (n = 16).

We found significantly reduced log AEA in BPD patients compared to healthy women (p = .03) but no differences in log 1-AG/2-AG concentrations. In addition, there was no association between 1-AG/2-AG and hair cortisol, but we found a non-significant correlation between hair concentrations of AEA and cortisol (p = .06).

Our data indicate altered long-term release of endogenous cannabinoids in women with BPD depending on type of endocannabinoid. AEA has been suggested to modulate the basal activity of the endocannabinoid system and seems to attenuate depressive and anxious symptoms. Thus, chronically reduced AEA might contribute to psychiatric symptoms in BPD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29546791

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10253890.2018.1451837?journalCode=ists20

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