Cannabinoid receptor agonists reduce the short-term mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress linked to excitotoxicity in the rat brain.

Neuroscience

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in a considerable number of physiological processes in the Central Nervous System.

Recently, a modulatory role of cannabinoid receptors (CBr) and CBr agonists on the reduction of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAr) activation has been demonstrated. Quinolinic acid (QUIN), an endogenous analog of glutamate and excitotoxic metabolite produced in the kynurenine pathway (KP), selectively activates NMDAr and has been shown to participate in different neurodegenerative disorders.

Since the early pattern of toxicity exerted by this metabolite is relevant to explain the extent of damage that it can produce in the brain, in this work we investigated the effects of the synthetic CBr agonist WIN 55,212-2 (WIN) and other agonists (anandamide or AEA, and CP 55,940 or CP) on early markers of QUIN-induced toxicity in rat striatal cultured cells and rat brain synaptosomes.

WIN, AEA and CP exerted protective effects on the QUIN-induced loss of cell viability. WIN also preserved the immunofluorescent signals for neurons and CBr labeling that were decreased by QUIN. The QUIN-induced early mitochondrial dysfunction, lipid peroxidation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation were also partially or completely prevented by WIN pretreatment, but not when this CBr agonist was added simultaneously with QUIN to brain synaptosomes.

These findings support a neuroprotective and modulatory role of cannabinoids in the early toxic events elicited by agents inducing excitotoxic processes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25446347

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306452214009737?via%3Dihub

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Anandamide Effects in a Streptozotocin-Induced Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Sporadic Dementia in Rats.

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“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by multiple cognitive deficits including memory and sensorimotor gating impairments as a result of neuronal and synaptic loss.

The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in these deficits but little is known about its influence on the molecular mechanism regarding phosphorylated tau (p-tau) protein accumulation – one of the hallmarks of AD -, and on the density of synaptic proteins.

Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the preventive effects of anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine, AEA) on multiple cognitive deficits and on the levels of synaptic proteins (syntaxin 1, synaptophysin and synaptosomal-associated protein, SNAP-25), cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and molecules related to p-tau degradation machinery (heat shock protein 70, HSP70), and Bcl2-associated athanogene (BAG2) in an AD-like sporadic dementia model in rats using intracerebroventricular (icv) injection of streptozotocin (STZ).

This study showed, for the first time, that the administration of an endocannabinoid can prevent AD-like effects induced by STZ, boosting further investigations about the modulation of endocannabinoid levels as a therapeutic approach for AD.”

“Altogether, our results showed, for the first time, that the administration of an endocannabinoid can prevent cognitive, synaptic and histopatological AD-like alterations induced by STZ, thus prompting endocannabinoids as a candidate therapeutic target in AD.”  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00653/full
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Endocannabinoid Virodhamine is an Endogenous Inhibitor of Human Cardiovascular CYP2J2 Epoxygenase.

 Biochemistry

“The human body contains endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) that elicit similar effects as Δ9-tetrahydrocanabinol, the principal bioactive component of cannabis.

The endocannabinoid virodhamine (O-AEA) is the constitutional isomer of the well-characterized cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA).

The chemical structures of O-AEA and AEA contain arachidonic acid (AA) and ethanolamine, however AA in O-AEA is connected to ethanolamine via an ester linkage whereas AA in AEA is connected through an amide linkage. We show that O-AEA is found at 9.6 fold higher levels than AEA in porcine left ventricle and is involved in regulating blood pressure and cardiovascular function.

On a separate note, the cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenase CYP2J2 is the most abundant CYP in the heart where it catalyzes the metabolism of AA and AA-derived eCBs to bioactive epoxides that are involved in diverse cardiovascular functions. Herein, using competitive binding studies, kinetic metabolism measurements, molecular dynamics and wound healing assays we have shown that O-AEA is an endogenous inhibitor of CYP2J2 epoxygenase.

Together, the role of O-AEA as an endogenous eCB inhibitor of CYP2J2 may provide a new mode of regulation to control the activity of cardiovascular CYP2J2 in vivo and suggests a potential cross talk between the cardiovascular endocannabinoids and cytochrome P450 system.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30285425

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00691

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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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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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