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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Chronic treatment with URB597 ameliorates post-stress symptoms in a rat model of PTSD.

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“Activating the endocannabinoid system has become a major focus in the search for novel therapeutics for anxiety and deficits in fear extinction, two defining features of PTSD. We examined whether chronic treatment with the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597 (0.2, 0.3, 0.4 mg/kg, i.p.) or the CB1/2 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (0.25, 0.5 mg/kg, i.p.) injected for 3 weeks to rats exposed to the shock and reminders model of PTSD would attenuate post-stress symptoms and affect basolateral amygdala (BLA) and CA1 CB1 receptors.

Exposure to shock and reminders enhanced acoustic startle response and impaired extinction. Rats exposed to shock and reminders and chronically treated with URB597 demonstrated normalized startle response and intact extinction kinetics. WIN55,212-2 only affected the startle response. The therapeutic effects of URB597 and WIN55,212-2 were found to be CB1 receptor dependent, as these effects were blocked when a low dose of the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 (0.3 mg/kg, i.p. for 3 weeks) was co-administered. Moreover, URB597, but not WIN55,212-2, normalized the shock/reminders-induced upregulation in CB1 receptor levels in the BLA and CA1. One hour after the shock, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) was increased in the BLA and decreased in the CA1. Circulating 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) concentrations were decreased in shocked rats, with no significant effect in the BLA or CA1. FAAH activity was increased in the CA1 of shocked rats.

Chronic cannabinoid treatment with URB597 can ameliorate PTSD-like symptoms suggesting FAAH inhibitors as a potentially effective therapeutic strategy for the treatment of disorders associated with inefficient fear coping.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29519609

http://www.europeanneuropsychopharmacology.com/article/S0924-977X(18)30045-2/fulltext

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Alterations of endocannabinoids in cerebrospinal fluid of dogs with epileptic seizure disorder.

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“Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders in dogs characterized by recurrent seizures. The endocannabinoid (EC) system plays a central role in suppressing pathologic neuronal excitability and in controlling the spread of activity in an epileptic network. Endocannabinoids are released on demand and their dysregulation has been described in several pathological conditions. Recurrent seizures may lead to an adverse reorganization of the EC system and impairment of its protective effect. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2AG) are altered in epileptic dogs. Concentrations of AEA and total AG (sum of 2AG and 1AG) were measured in 40 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and in 16 unaffected, healthy control dogs using liquid chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry.

RESULTS:

AEA and total AG were measured at 4.94 (3.18 – 9.17) pM and 1.43 (0.90 – 1.92) nM in epileptic dogs and at 3.19 (2.04 – 4.28) pM and 1.76 (1.08 – 2.69) nM in the control group, respectively (median, 25 – 75% percentiles in brackets). The AEA difference between epileptic and healthy dogs was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Values correlated with seizure severity and duration of seizure activity. Dogs with cluster seizures and/or status epilepticus and with seizure activity for more than six months displayed the highest EC concentrations.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, we present the first endocannabinoid measurements in canine CSF and confirm the hypothesis that the EC system is altered in canine idiopathic epilepsy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24370333

“In conclusion, we demonstrated an elevation of CSF AEA concentrations in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. The highest AEA concentrations were found in dogs with severe seizures and a long disease history. Possibly, the activation of the EC system serves as a counter-mechanism in order to regulate the seizure-threshold in epilepsy. However, the EC system can either alter or be altered by seizure activity, so that further, prospective studies are warranted to investigate pathological mechanisms. Despite endocannabinoids can be synthesized “on demand”, the EC system should be considered for development of new treatment strategies against epilepsy.”

https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-6148-9-262

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Endocannabinoid tone regulates human sebocyte biology.

JID home

“We have previously shown that i) endocannabinoids (eCB; e.g. anandamide [AEA]) are involved in the maintenance of homeostatic sebaceous lipid production (SLP) in human sebaceous glands (SG); and ii) eCB treatment dramatically increases SLP. Here, we aimed to investigate the expression of the major eCB synthesizing and degrading enzymes, and to study the effects of eCB uptake inhibitors on human SZ95 sebocytes, thus exploring the role of the putative eCB membrane transporter (EMT), which has been hypothesized to facilitate the cellular uptake and subsequent degradation of eCBs. We found that the major eCB synthesizing (NAPE-PLD, DAGLα and -β) and degrading (FAAH, MAGL) enzymes are expressed in SZ95 sebocytes, and also in SGs (except for DAGLα, whose staining was dubious in histological preparations). Interestingly, eCB uptake-inhibition with VDM11 induced a moderate increase in SLP, and also elevated the levels of various eCBs and related acylethanolamides. Finally, we found that VDM11 was able to interfere with the pro-inflammatory action of the Toll-like receptor 4 activator lipopolysaccharide. Collectively, our data suggest that inhibition of eCB uptake exerts anti-inflammatory actions and elevates both SLP and eCB levels; thus, these inhibitors might be beneficial in cutaneous inflammatory conditions accompanied by dry skin.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29501385

http://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(18)30147-7/pdf

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Innovative Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoid Receptors as Targets in Alzheimer’s disease and Less Well-Known Diseases.

“The discovery of cannabinoid receptors at the beginning of the 1990s, CB1 being cloned in 1990 and CB2 cloned in 1993, and the availability of selective and potent cannabimimetics could only be justified by the existence of endogenous ligands that are capable of binding to them. Thus, the characterisation and cloning of the first cannabinoid receptor (CB1) led to the isolation and characterisation of the first endocannabinoid, arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), two years later and the subsequent identification of a family of lipid transmitters known as the fatty acid ester 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The endogenous cannabinoid system is a complex signalling system that comprises transmembrane endocannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands (the endocannabinoids), the specific uptake mechanisms and the enzymatic systems related to their biosynthesis and degradation. The endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a wide diversity of biological processes, in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, including memory, learning, neuronal development, stress and emotions, food intake, energy regulation, peripheral metabolism, and the regulation of hormonal balance through the endocrine system. In this context, this article will review the current knowledge of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoid receptor as a target in Alzheimer’s disease and other less well-known diseases that include, among others, multiple sclerosis, bone metabolism, and Fragile X syndrome. The therapeutic applications will be addressed through the study of cannabinoid agonists acting as single drugs and multi-target drugs highlighting the CB2 receptor agonist.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29484980

http://www.eurekaselect.com/160083/article

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Limited Access to a High Fat Diet Alters Endocannabinoid Tone in Female Rats.

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“Emerging evidence suggest an impaired endocannabinoid activity in the pathophysiology of binge eating disorder (BED). Herein, we investigated whether endocannabinoid tone could be modified as a consequence of dietary-induced binge eating in female rats.

For this purpose, brain levels of the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), as well as two endocannabinoid-like lipids, oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), were assessed in different brain areas involved in the hedonic feeding (i.e., prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus).

The brain density of cannabinoid type-1 receptors (CB1) was also evaluated. Furthermore, we determined plasma levels of leptin, ghrelin, and corticosterone hormones, which are well-known to control the levels of endocannabioids and/or CB1 receptors in the brain.

To induce binge eating behavior, rats were subject to an intermittent and limited access to a high fat diet (HFD) (margarine). Three experimental groups were used, all with ad libitum access to chow: control (CTRL), with no access to margarine; low restriction (LR), with 2 h margarine access 7 days/week; high restriction (HR), with 2 h margarine access 3 days/week. Bingeing was established when margarine intake in the HR group exceeded that of the LR group.

Our results show that, compared to CTRL, AEA significantly decreased in the caudate putamen, amygdala, and hippocampus of HR group. In contrast, 2-AG significantly increased in the hippocampus while OEA decreased in the hypothalamus. Similar to the HR group, AEA and OEA decreased respectively in the amygdala and hypothalamus and 2-AG increased in the hippocampus of LR group. Moreover, LR group also had AEA decreased in the prefrontal cortex and increased in the nucleus accumbens. In both groups we found the same reduction of CB1 receptor density in the prefrontal cortex compared to CTRL. Also, LR and HR groups showed alterations in both ghrelin and corticosterone levels, while leptin remained unaltered.

In conclusion, our findings show a modified endocannabinoid tone due to margarine exposure, in several brain areas that are known to influence the hedonic aspect of food. Even if not uniquely specific to binge eating, margarine-induced changes in endocannabinoid tone could contributes to the development and maintenance of this behavior.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29456490

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00040/full

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Plasma N-acylethanolamine and endocannabinoid levels in burning mouth syndrome: potential role in disease pathogenesis.

Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine

“The objective was to measure endocannabinoid (eCB) ligands and non-cannabinoid N-acylethanolamine (NAE) molecules in plasma from individuals with burning mouth syndrome (BMS), and to determine if plasma eCB/NAE levels correlated with pain, inflammation and depressive symptomatology in this cohort.

RESULTS:

Plasma levels of PEA, but not OEA, AEA or 2-AG, were significantly elevated in patients with BMS, when compared to plasma from healthy individuals. Plasma PEA, OEA and AEA levels correlated with depressive symptomatology.

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first evidence to indicate that circulating eCB/NAE levels are altered in BMS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29436743

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jop.12692/abstract

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