Crystal Structure of the Human Cannabinoid Receptor CB2.

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“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30639103

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0092867418316258

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Do Endocannabinoids Regulate Glucose Reabsorption in the Kidney?

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“Diabetic nephropathy (DN), a distinct manifestation of diabetic kidney disease, affects approximately 30% of patients with diabetes. While most attention has been focused on glomerular changes related to DN, there is growing evidence that tubulopathy is a key feature in the pathogenesis of this disease. The renal proximal tubule cells (RPTCs) are particularly sensitive to the deleterious effect of chronic hyperglycemia. However, the cellular changes that control the dysfunction of the RPTCs are not fully understood.

Controlling glucose reabsorption in the proximal tubules via inhibition of glucose transporters (GLUT) has emerged as a promising therapeutic in ameliorating DN.

Overactivation of the renal endocannabinoid (eCB) system via the cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1R) contributes to the development of DN, and its blockade by globally acting or peripherally restricted CB1R antagonists has been shown to ameliorate renal dysfunction in different murine models for diabetes. Recently, we have utilized various pharmacological and genetic tools to show that the eCB/CB1R system contributes to the development of DN via regulating the expression, translocation, and activity of the facilitative GLUT2 located in the RPTCs.

These findings have the potential to be translated into therapy, and support the rationale for the preclinical development of novel renal-specific CB1R and/or GLUT2 inhibitors for the treatment of DN.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30636250

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/494512

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Expression and Preparation of a G-Protein-Coupled Cannabinoid Receptor CB2 for NMR Structural Studies.

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“Cannabinoid receptor type II, or CB2 , is an integral membrane protein that belongs to a large class of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR)s. CB2 is a part of the endocannabinoid system, which plays an important role in the regulation of immune response, inflammation, and pain.

Information about the structure and function of CB2 is essential for the development of specific ligands targeting this receptor.

We present here a methodology for recombinant expression of CB2 and its stable isotope labeling, purification, and reconstitution into liposomes, in preparation for its characterization by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

Correctly folded, functional CB2 labeled with [13 C,15 N]tryptophan or uniformly labeled with 13 C and 15 N is expressed in a medium of defined composition, under controlled aeration, pH, and temperature conditions.

The receptor is purified by affinity chromatography and reconstituted into lipid bilayers in the form of proteoliposomes suitable for analysis by NMR spectroscopy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30624864

https://currentprotocols.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cpps.83

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Bidirectional modulation of food habit expression by the endocannabinoid system.

European Journal of Neuroscience banner

“The compulsive, habitual behaviors that have been observed in individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders may be due to disruptions in the neural circuits that mediate goal-directed actions.

The endocannabinoid system has been shown to play a critical role in habit learning, but the role of this neuromodulatory system in habit expression is unclear.

Here, we investigated the role of the endocannabinoid system in established habitual actions using contingency degradation in male C57BL/6 mice.

We found that administration of the endocannabinoid transport inhibitor AM404 reduced habitual responding for food and that antagonism of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), but not transient receptor potential cation subfamily V (TRPV1), receptors produced a similar reduction in habitual responding.

Moreover, pharmacological stimulation of CB1 receptors increased habitual responding for food. Co-administration of an enzyme inhibitor that selectively increases the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) with AM404 partially restored habitual responding for food.

Together, these findings demonstrate an important role for the endocannabinoid system in the expression of habits and provide novel insights into potential pharmacological strategies for reducing habitual behaviors in mental disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30589475

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ejn.14330

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Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor Antagonist Rimonabant Decreases Levels of Markers of Organ Dysfunction and Alters Vascular Reactivity in Aortic Vessels in Late Sepsis in Rats.

“Sepsis is a life-threatening condition with high mortality rates that is caused by dysregulation of the host response to infection. We previously showed that treatment with the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant reduced mortality rates in animals with sepsis that was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). This improvement in the survival rate appeared to be related to an increase in arginine vasopressin (AVP) levels 12 h after CLP.

The present study investigated the effects of rimonabant on organ dysfunction, hematologic parameters, and vascular reactivity in male Wistar rats with sepsis induced by CLP. Intraperitoneal treatment with rimonabant (10 mg/kg, 4 h after CLP) abolished the increase in the plasma levels of lactate, lactate dehydrogenase, glucose, and creatinine kinase MB without altering hematological parameters (i.e., leukopenia and a reduction of platelet counts). CLP increased plasma levels of nitrate/nitrite (NOx) and induced vasoconstriction in the tail artery. The treatment of CLP rats with rimonabant did not alter NOx production but reduced the vasoconstriction. Rimonabant also attenuated the hyperreactivity to AVP induced by CLP without affecting hyporesponsiveness to phenylephrine in aortic rings.

These results suggest that rimonabant reduces organ dysfunction during sepsis, and this effect may be related to AVP signaling in blood vessels. This effect may have contributed to the higher survival rate in rimonabant-treated septic animals.”

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Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Antagonism Improves Glycemic Control and Increases Energy Expenditure via Sirt1/mTORC2 and AMPK Signaling.

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“Endocannabinoids promote energy conservation in obesity, whereas cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1 R) blockade reverses body weight gain and insulin resistance and increases energy expenditure.

Here we investigated the molecular mechanisms of the catabolic effects of CB1 R blockade in the liver.

CONCLUSION: peripheral CB1 R blockade in obese mice improves glycemic control via the hepatic Sirt1/mTORC2/Akt pathway, whereas it increases fatty acid oxidation via LKB1/AMPK signaling.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30506571

https://aasldpubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hep.30364

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Cannabinoid receptor type-1 partially mediates metabolic endotoxemia-induced inflammation and insulin resistance.

Physiology & Behavior

“Cannabinoid receptor type-1 partially mediates metabolic endotoxemia-induced inflammation and insulin resistance. Despite no significant differences in body weight among groups, chronic exposure to low-level LPS altered hepatic endocannabinoid signaling, increased inflammation, and impaired insulin sensitivity and insulin clearance. CB1 inhibition significantly attenuated LPS signaling, which attenuated LPS-induced metabolic alterations. Therefore, we concluded that CB1 contributes to LPS-mediated inflammation and insulin resistance, suggesting that blocking CB1 signaling may have therapeutic benefits in reducing inflammation-induced metabolic abnormalities.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30502357

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938418304190?via%3Dihub

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Inhibition of Monoacylglycerol Lipase Reduces the Reinstatement of Methamphetamine-Seeking and Anxiety-Like Behaviors in Methamphetamine Self-Administered Rats.

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“Methamphetamine is a highly addictive psychostimulant with reinforcing properties. Our laboratory previously found that Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol, an exogenous cannabinoid, suppressed the reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking behavior.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the elevation of endocannabinoids modulates the reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking behavior and emotional changes in methamphetamine self-administered rats.

RESULTS:

JZL184 (32 and 40 mg/kg, i.p.), an inhibitor of monoacylglycerol lipase, significantly attenuated both the cue- and stress-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking behavior. Furthermore, URB597 (3.2 and 10 mg/kg, i.p.), an inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase, attenuated only cue-induced reinstatement. AM251, a cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist, antagonized the attenuation of cue-induced reinstatement by JZL184 but not URB597. Neither JZL184 nor URB597 reinstated methamphetamine-seeking behavior when administered alone. In the elevated plus-maze test, rats that were in withdrawal from methamphetamine self-administration spent less time in the open arms. JZL184 ameliorated the decrease in time spent in the open arms.

CONCLUSION:

We showed that JZL184 reduced both the cue- and stress-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking and anxiety-like behaviors in rats that had self-administered methamphetamine. It was suggested that a decrease in 2-arachidonoylglycerol in the brain could drive the reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking and anxiety-like behaviors.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30481332

https://academic.oup.com/ijnp/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ijnp/pyy086/5210886

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Cannabinoids, Chemical Senses, and Regulation of Feeding Behavior.

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“The herb Cannabis sativa has been traditionally used in many cultures and all over the world for thousands of years as medicine and recreation.

However, because it was brought to the Western world in the late 19th century, its use has been a source of controversy with respect to its physiological effects as well as the generation of specific behaviors. In this regard, the CB1 receptor represents the most relevant target molecule of cannabinoid components on nervous system and whole-body energy homeostasis.

Thus, the promotion of CB1 signaling can increase appetite and stimulate feeding, whereas blockade of CB1 suppresses hunger and induces hypophagia.

Taste and flavor are sensory experiences involving the oral perception of food-derived chemicals and drive a primal sense of acceptable or unacceptable for what is sampled. Therefore, research within the last decades focused on deciphering the effect of cannabinoids on the chemical senses involved in food perception and consequently in the pattern of feeding.

In this review, we summarize the data on the effect of cannabinoids on chemical senses and their influences on food intake control and feeding behavior.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30481264

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Novel inverse agonists for the orphan G protein-coupled receptor 6.

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“The orphan G protein-coupled receptor 6 (GPR6) displays unique promise as a therapeutic target for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders due to its high expression in the striatopallidal neurons of the basal ganglia.

GPR6, along with closely related orphan receptors GPR3 and GPR12, are phylogenetically related to CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

In the current study, we performed concentration-response studies on the effects of three different classes of cannabinoids: endogenous, phyto-, and synthetic, on both GPR6-mediated cAMP accumulation and β-arrestin2 recruitment. In addition, structure-activity relationship studies were conducted on cannabidiol (CBD), a recently discovered inverse agonist for GPR6.

We have identified four additional cannabinoids, cannabidavarin (CBDV), WIN55212-2, SR141716A and SR144528, that exert inverse agonism on GPR6. Furthermore, we have discovered that these cannabinoids exhibit functional selectivity toward the β-arrestin2 recruitment pathway.

These novel, functionally selective inverse agonists for GPR6 can be used as research tools and potentially developed into therapeutic agents.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30480157

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