“Phytochemicals and secondary metabolites able to interact with the endocannabinoid system (Cannabimimetics) have been recently described in a broad range of plants and fruits. These findings can open new alternative avenues to explore for the development of novel therapeutic compounds. The cannabinoids regulate many physiological and pathological functions in both animals and plants. Cannabis sativa is the main plant that produces phytocannabinoids inside resins capable to defend the plant from the aggression of parasites and herbivores. Animals produce anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, which thanks to binding with main receptors such as type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) and the type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) are involved in inflammation processes and several brain functions. Endogenous cannabinoids, enzymes for synthesis and degradation of cannabinoids, and CB1R and CB2R constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Other plants can produce cannabinoid-like molecules such as perrottetinene extracted from Radula perrottetii, or anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol extracted from some bryophytes. Moreover, several other secondary metabolites can also interact with the ECS of animals and take the name of cannabimimetics. These phytoextracts not derived from Cannabis sativa can act as receptor agonists or antagonist, or enzyme inhibitors of ECS and can be involved in the inflammation, oxidative stress, cancer, and neuroprotection. Finally, given the evolutionary heterogeneity of the cannabimimetic plants, some authors speculated on the fascinating thesis of the evolutionary convergence between plants and animals regarding biological functions of ECS. The review aims to provide a critical and complete assessment of the botanical, chemical and therapeutic aspects of cannabimimetic plants to evaluate their spread in the world and medicinal potentiality.”
“Neuropathic pain (NP) is associated with chronic hyperglycemia and emotional disorders such as depression in diabetic patients, complicating the course of treatment. Drugs currently used to treat NP have undesirable side effects, so research on other natural sources has been required.
β-caryophyllene (BCP), a natural sesquiterpene found in some food condiments and considered an agonist to cannabinoid receptor type 2, could have potential therapeutic effects to treat conditions such as NP and emotional disorders. For this reason, we assessed whether BCP modulates nociception, anxiety, and depressive-like behavior in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced experimental diabetic BALB/c female mice.
BCP was orally chronic administrated (10 mg/kg/60 μL). Pain developed with STZ was evaluated with von Frey filament test, SMALGO®, and hot plate test. Anxiety and depression-like behavior were assessed by marbles test, forced swim test, and tail suspension test. BCP significantly reduced glycemia in experimental diabetic mice. The pain was also mitigated by BCP administration. Depression-like behavior assessed with tail suspension test was attenuated with orally chronic BCP administration. Substance P and cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were also attenuated with BCP administration. NP was positively correlated with substance P and IL-6 and IL-1β release.
Our data using an orally chronic BCP administration in the STZ challenged mice to suggest that glycemia, diabetes-related NP, and depressive-like behavior could be prevented/reduced by dietary BCP.”
“Severe and poorly treated pain often accompanies breast cancer. Thus, novel mechanisms involved in breast cancer-induced pain should be investigated. Then, it is necessary to characterize animal models that are reliable with the symptoms and progression of the disease as observed in humans. Explaining cancer-induced nociception in a murine model of breast carcinoma was the aim of this study. 4T1 (104) lineage cells were inoculated in the right fourth mammary fat pad of female BALB/c mice; after this, mechanical and cold allodynia, or mouse grimace scale (MGS) were observed for 30 days. To determine the presence of bone metastasis, we performed the metastatic clonogenic test and measure calcium serum levels. At 20 days after tumor induction, the antinociceptive effect of analgesics used to relieve pain in cancer patients (acetaminophen, naproxen, codeine or morphine) or a cannabinoid agonist (WIN 55,212-2) was tested. Mice inoculated with 4T1 cells developed mechanical and cold allodynia and increased MGS. Bone metastasis was confirmed using the clonogenic assay, and hypercalcemia was observed 20 days after cells inoculation. All analgesic drugs reduced the mechanical and cold allodynia, while the MGS was decreased only by the administration of naproxen, codeine, or morphine. Also, WIN 55,212-2 improved all nociceptive measures. This pain model could be a reliable form to observe the mechanisms of breast cancer-induced pain or to observe the efficacy of novel analgesic compounds.”
“Insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction are the main defects in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), and β-cell dysfunction and apoptosis is the critical determinant in the progression of T2DM. G-protein coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) is an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, which is activated by endocannabinoids and lipid transmitters. Recently, GPR55 was shown to regulate glucose and energy homeostasis, however its role in β-cell apoptosis was not studied. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the novel effect of GPR55 agonists, O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol (Abn-CBD), on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis in mouse pancreatic β-cell lines, MIN6 and Beta-TC-6, and its underlying mechanisms. Our results showed that O-1602 and Abn-CBD reduced ER stress-induced apoptosis in MIN6 and Beta-TC-6 cells. This was through the phosphorylation of 3′-5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein (CREB) in β-cells, hence activating CREB downstream anti-apoptotic genes, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Moreover, O-1602 and Abn-CBD directly activated kinases, CaMKIV, Erk1/2 and PKA, to induce CREB phosphorylation. Therefore, our results indicated that GPR55 agonists protected from β-cell apoptosis through CREB activation, thus up-regulating anti-apoptotic genes. In conclusion, our study provided a novel protective effect of GPR55 agonists on ER stress-induced apoptosis in β-cells and its underlying mechanisms mediating this protection, therefore we suggested that GPR55 might be a therapeutic target for T2DM.”
“The endocannabinoid system(ECS) may play a role in the pathophysiology of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Cannabinoids actingas dual PPARγ/CB2agonists, such as VCE-004.8 and Ajulemic acid (AjA), havebeen shown to alleviate skin fibrosis and inflammation in SSc models. Since bothcompounds are being tested in humans, we compared their activities in the bleomycin(BLM) SSc model.Specifically, the pharmacotranscriptomicsignature of the compounds was determined by RNA-Seq changes in the skin of BLM mice treated orallywith AjA or EHP-101, a lipidicformulation of VCE-004.8. While both compounds down-regulatedthe expression of genes involved in the inflammatoryand fibrotic components of the disease and the pharmacotranscriptomicsignatures were similar for both compounds in some pathways, we found keydifferences between the compounds in vasculogenesis. Additionally, we found 28 specific genes withtranslation potential by comparing with a list of humanscleroderma genes. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that both compounds prevented fibrosis, collagen accumulation andTenascin C (TNC) expression. Theendothelial CD31+/CD34+ cells and telocyteswere reduced in BLM mice and restored only byEHP-101 treatment. Finally, differences were found inplasmatic biomarker analysis; EHP-101, but not AjA, enhanced the expressionof some factors related to angiogenesisand vasculogenesis. Altogether the results indicate that dual PPARγ/CB2agonists qualify as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of SSc and other fibrotic diseases. EHP-101 demonstratedunique mechanisms of action related to the pathophysiology of SSc that could be beneficial in the treatment of this complex disease without current therapeutic options.”
“Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by antibody-mediated platelet destruction, with a complex and unclear pathogenesis. The impaired immunosuppressive capacity of mesenchymal stromal cells in ITP patients (ITP-MSCs) might play a role in the development of the disease. Correcting the MSC defects could represent an alternative therapeutic approach for ITP.
High-dose dexamethasone (HD-Dexa) is the mainstay of the ITP therapeutic regimen, although it has several side effects. We previously demonstrated a role for cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB₂) as a mediator of anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties of human MSCs.
We analyzed the effects of CB₂ stimulation, with the selective agonist JWH-133, and of Dexa alone and in combination on ITP-MSC survival and immunosuppressive capacity. We provided new insights into the pathogenesis of ITP, suggesting CB₂ receptor involvement in the impairment of ITP-MSC function and confirming MSCs as responsive cellular targets of Dexa. Moreover, we demonstrated that CB₂ stimulation and Dexa attenuate apoptosis, via Bcl2 signaling, and restore the immune-modulatory properties of MSCs derived from ITP patients.
These data suggest the possibility of using Dexa in combination with JWH-133 in ITP, reducing its dose and side effects but maintaining its therapeutic benefits.”
“Extracts from Cannabis species have aided the discovery of the endocannabinoid signaling system (ECSS) and phytocannabinoids that possess broad therapeutic potential. Whereas the reinforcing effects of C. sativa are largely attributed to CB1 receptor agonism by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the observed medicinal effects of Cannabis arise from the combined actions of various compounds. In addition to compounds bearing a classical cannabinoid structure, naturally occurring fatty acid amides and esters resembling anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol isolated from non- Cannabis species are also valuable tools for studying ECSS function. This review highlights the potential of plant-based secondary metabolites from Cannabis and unrelated species as ECSS modulators.”
“The cannabinoid receptor CB2 is predominately expressed in the immune system, and selective modulation of CB2 without the psychoactivity of CB1 has therapeutic potential in inflammatory, fibrotic, and neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we report the crystal structure of human CB2 in complex with a rationally designed antagonist, AM10257, at 2.8 Å resolution. The CB2-AM10257 structure reveals a distinctly different binding pose compared with CB1. However, the extracellular portion of the antagonist-bound CB2 shares a high degree of conformational similarity with the agonist-bound CB1, which led to the discovery of AM10257’s unexpected opposing functional profile of CB2 antagonism versus CB1 agonism. Further structural analysis using mutagenesis studies and molecular docking revealed the molecular basis of their function and selectivity for CB2 and CB1. Additional analyses of our designed antagonist and agonist pairs provide important insight into the activation mechanism of CB2. The present findings should facilitate rational drug design toward precise modulation of the endocannabinoid system.”
“Cannabinoid receptor (CB)2 is an immune cell-localized GPCR that has been hypothesized to regulate the magnitude of inflammatory responses.
However, there is currently no consensus as to the mechanism by which CB2 mediates its anti-inflammatory effects in vivo. To address this question, we employed a murine dorsal air pouch model with wild-type and CB2-/- 8-12-wk-old female and male C57BL/6 mice and found that acute neutrophil and lymphocyte antigen 6 complex, locus Chi monocyte recruitment in response to Zymosan was significantly enhanced in CB2-/- mice.
Additionally, levels of matrix metalloproteinase 9 and the chemokines C-C motif chemokine ligand (CCL)2, CCL4, and C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10 in CB2-/- pouch exudates were elevated at earlier time points. Importantly, using mixed bone marrow chimeras, we revealed that the proinflammatory phenotype in CB2-/- mice is neutrophil-intrinsic rather than stromal cell-dependent. Indeed, neutrophils isolated from CB2-/- mice exhibited an enhanced migration-related transcriptional profile and increased adhesive phenotype, and treatment of human neutrophils with a CB2 agonist blocked their endothelial transmigration.
Overall, we have demonstrated that CB2 plays a nonredundant role during acute neutrophil mobilization to sites of inflammation and, as such, it could represent a therapeutic target for the development of novel anti-inflammatory compounds to treat inflammatory human diseases.”
“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disease with intestinal dysmotility, whose mechanism remains elusive.
The endocannabinoid system is emerging as an important modulator of gastrointestinal (GI) motility in multiple diseases, but its involvement in IBS is unknown.
We aimed to determine whether cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor modulates intestinal motility associated with stress-induced IBS.
CB2 receptor may exert an important inhibitory effect in stress-induced colonic hypermotility by modulating NO synthesis through p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. AM1241 could be used as a potential drug to treat disorders with colonic hypermotility.”