“Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, play important roles in defending the brain against pathogens and supporting neuronal circuit plasticity. Chronic or excessive pro-inflammatory responses of microglia damage neurons, therefore their activity is tightly regulated.
Pharmacological and genetic studies revealed that cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor activity influences microglial activity, although microglial CB1 receptor expression is very low and activity-dependent. The CB1 receptor is mainly expressed on neurons in the central nervous system (CNS)-with an especially high level on GABAergic interneurons.
Here, we determined whether CB1 signaling on this neuronal cell type plays a role in regulating microglial activity.
Our result suggests that CB1 receptor agonists can modulate microglial activity indirectly, through CB1 receptors on GABAergic neurons.
Altogether, we demonstrated that GABAergic neurons, despite their relatively low density in the hippocampus, have a specific role in the regulation of microglial activity and cannabinoid signaling plays an important role in this arrangement.”
“Targeting peripheral CB1R is desirable for the treatment of metabolic syndromes without adverse neuropsychiatric effects.
We previously reported a human hCB1b isoform that is selectively enriched in pancreatic beta-cells and hepatocytes, providing a potential peripheral therapeutic hCB1R target. It is unknown whether there are peripherally enriched mouse and rat CB1R (mCB1 and rCB1, respectively) isoforms.
In this study, we found no evidence of peripherally enriched rodent CB1 isoforms; however, some mCB1R isoforms are absent in peripheral tissues. We show that the mouse Cnr1 gene contains six exons that are transcribed from a single promoter. We found that mCB1A is a spliced variant of extended exon 1 and protein-coding exon 6; mCB1B is a novel spliced variant containing unspliced exon 1, intron 1, and exon 2, which is then spliced to exon 6; and mCB1C is a spliced variant including all 6 exons.
Using RNAscope in situ hybridization, we show that the isoforms mCB1A and mCB1B are expressed at a cellular level and colocalized in GABAergic neurons in the hippocampus and cortex. RT-qPCR reveals that mCB1A and mCB1B are enriched in the brain, while mCB1B is not expressed in the pancreas or the liver. Rat rCB1R isoforms are differentially expressed in primary cultured neurons, astrocytes, and microglia.
We also investigated modulation of Cnr1 expression by insulin in vivo and carried out in silico modeling of CB1R with JD5037, a peripherally restricted CB1R inverse agonist, using the published crystal structure of hCB1R.
The results provide models for future CB1R peripheral targeting.”
“Obesity is an increasing health problem worldwide. Its related comorbidities imply a high cost for the National Health System and diminish a patient’s life quality.
Adipose tissue is composed of three types of cells. White adipocytes are involved in fat storage and secretion of hormones. Brown adipocytes are involved in thermogenesis and caloric expenditure. Beige adipocytes are transitional adipocytes that in response to various stimuli can turn from white to brown and could be protective against the obesity, enhancing energy expenditure.
The conversion of white in beige adipose tissue is a potential new therapeutic target for obesity.
Cannabinoid receptors (CB) regulate thermogenesis, food intake and inflammation. CB1 ablation or inhibition helps reducing body weight and food intake. Stimulation of CB2 limits inflammation and promotes anti-obesity effects by reducing food intake and weight gain. Its genetic ablation results in adiposity development.
CB receptors are also responsible for transforming white adipose tissue towards beige or brown adipocytes, therefore their modulation can be considered potential anti-obesity target. CB1 principal localization in central nervous system represents an important limit. Stimulation of CB2, principally localized on peripheral cells instead, should facilitate the anti-obesity effects without exerting remarkable psychotropic activity.”
“Pain is characterized as a complex experience, dependent not only on the regulation of nociceptive sensory systems but also on the activation of mechanisms that control emotional processes in limbic brain areas.
Non-opioid, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most widely used analgesics in the treatment of not-severe pain. We have recently shown that repeated doses result in tolerance to these drugs like opioids.
Here we investigated the central brain mechanisms of non-opioid induced antinociception in the non-acute pain models of rats, such as the ‘formalin test’ and a relation between administration of NSAIDs in the limbic brain area, – the anterior cingulated cortex (ACC), – and the endocannabinoid system.
The present data support the notion that endocannabinoids’ CB1 receptor contributes in part to antinociceptive effects of NSAIDs and probably involved in activation of the descending opioid modulatory system of pain.”
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a crucial role in numerous physiological processes in the central and peripheral nervous systems. In the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, selective cannabinoid (CB) receptor agonists exert potent inhibitory actions on motility and pain signalling. In the present study, we used mouse models of diarrhea, hypermotility, and abdominal pain to examine whether a novel synthetic CB1 receptor agonist AM9405 [(2-(2,6-dihydroxy-4-(2-methyloctan-2-yl)phenyl)-1,3-dimethyl-1H-benzo[d]imidazol-3-ium bromide); also known as GAT379] exhibits effects of potential therapeutic relevance. AM9405 significantly slowed mouse intestinal motility in physiological conditions. Moreover, AM9405 reversed hypermotility and reduced pain in mouse models mimicking symptoms of functional GI disorders, such as stress-induced diarrhoea and writhing test. Interestingly, some of the effects of AM9405 were blocked by a 5-HT3 antagonist suggesting interaction with 5-HT3 receptors. In our study we show that combining CB1 agonism with 5-HT3 agonism may alter physiological functions and experimental pathophysiologies in a manner that make such compounds promising drugs for the future treatment of functional GI disorders.”
“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.”
“Mental disorders have a high prevalence compared with many other health conditions and are the leading cause of disability worldwide. Several studies performed in the last years support the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the etiopathogenesis of different mental disorders.
The present review will summarize the latest information on the role of the endocannabinoid system in psychiatric disorders, specifically depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. We will focus on the findings from human brain studies regarding alterations in endocannabinoid levels, cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoid metabolizing enzymes in patients suffering mental disorders.
Studies carried out in humans have consistently demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system is fundamental for emotional homeostasis and cognitive function. Thus, deregulation of the different elements that are part of the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the pathophysiology of several mental disorders. However, the results reported are controversial. In this sense, different alterations in gene and/or protein expression of CB1 receptors have been shown depending on the technical approach used or the brain region studied.
Despite the current discrepancies regarding cannabinoid receptors changes in depression and schizophrenia, present findings point to the endocannabinoid system as a pivotal neuromodulatory pathway relevant in the pathophysiology of mental disorders.
“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.”
“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global epidemic representing the leading cause of death in some Western countries. Endocannabinoids and cannabinoid‐related compounds may be a promising approach as therapeutic agents for cardiovascular diseases. This review highlights the potential of cannabinoids and their receptors as targets for intervention.
In summary, the endocannabinoid system is highly active in cardiovascular disease states. Modulation of the ECS, CB1, and TRPV1 antagonism, as well as CB2 agonism, have proven to modulate disease state and severity in CVD. Studies are underway to develop drugs to change the course of cardiovascular diseases.