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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Cannabis for the Treatment of Epilepsy: an Update.

“For millennia, there has been interest in the use of cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy.

However, it is only recently that appropriately powered controlled studies have been completed. In this review, we present an update on the research investigating the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, in the treatment of epilepsy.

While the anticonvulsant mechanism of action of CBD has not been entirely elucidated, we discuss the most recent data available including its low affinity for the endocannabinoid receptors and possible indirect modulation of these receptors via blocking the breakdown of anandamide.

Additional targets include activation of the transient receptor potential of vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1), antagonist action at GPR55, targeting of abnormal sodium channels, blocking of T-type calcium channels, modulation of adenosine receptors, modulation of voltage-dependent anion selective channel protein (VDAC1), and modulation of tumor necrosis factor alpha release.

We also discuss the most recent studies on various artisanal CBD products conducted in patients with epilepsy in the USA and internationally. While a high percentage of patients in these studies reported improvement in seizures, these studies were either retrospective or conducted via survey. Dosage/preparation of CBD was either unknown or not controlled in the majority of these studies.

Finally, we present data from both open-label expanded access programs (EAPs) and randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) of a highly purified oral preparation of CBD, which was recently approved by the FDA in the treatment of epilepsy.

In the EAPs, there was a significant improvement in seizure frequency seen in a large number of patients with various types of treatment-refractory epilepsy. The RCTs have shown significant seizure reduction compared to placebo in patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Finally, we describe the available data on adverse effects and drug-drug interactions with highly purified CBD.

While this product is overall well tolerated, the most common side effects are diarrhea and sedation, with sedation being much more common in patients taking concomitant clobazam. There was also an increased incidence of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase elevations while taking CBD, with many of the patients with these abnormalities also taking concomitant valproate. CBD has a clear interaction with clobazam, significantly increasing the levels of its active metabolite N-desmethylclobazam in several studies; this is felt to be due to CBD’s inhibition of CYP2C19. EAP data demonstrate other possible interactions with rufinamide, zonisamide, topiramate, and eslicarbazepine. Additionally, there is one case report demonstrating need for warfarin dose adjustment with concomitant CBD.

Understanding of CBD’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of TRE has expanded significantly in the last few years. Future controlled studies of various ratios of CBD and THC are needed as there could be further therapeutic potential of these compounds for patients with epilepsy.”

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Brain activity of anandamide: a rewarding bliss?

 

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“Anandamide is a lipid mediator that acts as an endogenous ligand of CB1 receptors. These receptors are also the primary molecular target responsible for the pharmacological effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis sativa.

Several studies demonstrate that anandamide exerts an overall modulatory effect on the brain reward circuitry. Several reports suggest its involvement in the addiction-producing actions of other abused drugs, and it can also act as a behavioral reinforcer in animal models of drug abuse.

Importantly, all these effects of anandamide appear to be potentiated by pharmacological inhibition of its metabolic degradation. Enhanced brain levels of anandamide after treatment with inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase, the main enzyme responsible for its degradation, seem to affect the rewarding and reinforcing actions of many drugs of abuse.

In this review, we will provide an overview from a preclinical perspective of the current state of knowledge regarding the behavioral pharmacology of anandamide, with a particular emphasis on its motivational/reinforcing properties. We will also discuss how modulation of anandamide levels through inhibition of enzymatic metabolic pathways could provide a basis for developing new pharmaco-therapeutic tools for the treatment of substance use disorders.”

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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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Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Pathophysiology of Schizophrenia: Implications for Pharmacological Intervention.

 

“The term schizophrenia describes a group of multifaceted psychiatric conditions causing significant impairment of the quality of life of affected patients. Although multiple pharmacological treatment options exist, e.g. first- or second-generation antipsychotics, these therapeutics often cause disturbing side effects, such as extrapyramidal symptoms, prolactin increase, sexual dysfunction and/or metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, cognitive impairments and negative symptoms, two factors significantly influencing the course and outcome, are not sufficiently addressed by the available antipsychotics.

Since its discovery, multiple clinical and preclinical studies have linked the endocannabinoid system to schizophrenia.

Both the endocannabinoid anandamide and the cannabinoid CB1 receptor are deeply linked to underlying disease processes. Based hereon, clinical trials in schizophrenia have explored cannabidiol, a primary component of Cannabis sativa, and rimonabant, a partial antagonist to the CB1 receptor.

While the latter did not reveal positive results, cannabidiol significantly ameliorated psychotic symptoms, which was associated with an increase in anandamide serum levels. However, the exact mechanisms of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol are not fully understood, and, furthermore, only a limited number of clinical trials in humans have been concluded to date.

Thus, the level of proof of safety and efficacy required to approve the therapeutic use of cannabidiol in schizophrenia is currently lacking. However, cannabidiol is a promising candidate as an effective and mechanistically different antipsychotic treatment with a favourable side-effect profile. We therefore conclude that further studies are urgently needed to clarify the antipsychotic effects and safety profile of cannabidiol, and to fully explore its potential antipsychotic mechanism.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30022465

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40263-018-0539-z

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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 Pharmacological Inhibition of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Prevents Excitotoxic Damage in the Rat Striatum: Possible Involvement of CB1 Receptors Regulation.

Molecular Neurobiology

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) actively participates in several physiological processes within the central nervous system.

Among such, its involvement in the downregulation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAr) through a modulatory input at the cannabinoid receptors (CBr) has been established. After its production via the kynurenine pathway (KP), quinolinic acid (QUIN) can act as an excitotoxin through the selective overactivation of NMDAr, thus participating in the onset and development of neurological disorders.

In this work, we evaluated whether the pharmacological inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) by URB597, and the consequent increase in the endogenous levels of anandamide, can prevent the excitotoxic damage induced by QUIN. URB597 (0.3 mg/kg/day × 7 days, administered before, during and after the striatal lesion) exerted protective effects on the QUIN-induced motor (asymmetric behavior) and biochemical (lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation) alterations in rats.

URB597 also preserved the structural integrity of the striatum and prevented the neuronal loss (assessed as microtubule-associated protein-2 and glutamate decarboxylase localization) induced by QUIN (1 μL intrastriatal, 240 nmol/μL), while modified the early localization patterns of CBr1 (CB1) and NMDAr subunit 1 (NR1).

Altogether, these findings support the concept that the pharmacological manipulation of the endocannabinoid system plays a neuroprotective role against excitotoxic insults in the central nervous system.”

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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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Anandamide Revisited: How Cholesterol and Ceramides Control Receptor-Dependent and Receptor-Independent Signal Transmission Pathways of a Lipid Neurotransmitter.

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“Anandamide is a lipid neurotransmitter derived from arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid.

The chemical differences between anandamide and arachidonic acid result in a slightly enhanced solubility in water and absence of an ionisable group for the neurotransmitter compared with the fatty acid. In this review, we first analyze the conformational flexibility of anandamide in aqueous and membrane phases. We next study the interaction of the neurotransmitter with membrane lipids and discuss the molecular basis of the unexpected selectivity of anandamide for cholesterol and ceramide from among other membrane lipids.

We show that cholesterol behaves as a binding partner for anandamide, and that following an initial interaction mediated by the establishment of a hydrogen bond, anandamide is attracted towards the membrane interior, where it forms a molecular complex with cholesterol after a functional conformation adaptation to the apolar membrane milieu.

The complex is then directed to the anandamide cannabinoid receptor (CB1) which displays a high affinity binding pocket for anandamide. We propose that cholesterol may regulate the entry and exit of anandamide in and out of CB1 by interacting with low affinity cholesterol recognition sites (CARC and CRAC) located in transmembrane helices.

The mirror topology of cholesterol binding sites in the seventh transmembrane domain is consistent with the delivery, extraction and flip-flop of anandamide through a coordinated cholesterol-dependent mechanism. The binding of anandamide to ceramide illustrates another key function of membrane lipids which may occur independently of protein receptors.

Interestingly, ceramide forms a tight complex with anandamide which blocks the degradation pathway of both lipids and could be exploited for anti-cancer therapies.”

“The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC20983/

“The endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide, induces cell death in colorectal carcinoma cells: a possible role for cyclooxygenase 2”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1774787/

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