“The balance between detrimental, pro-aging, often stochastic processes and counteracting homeostatic mechanisms largely determines the progression of aging. There is substantial evidence suggesting that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is part of the latter system because it modulates the physiological processes underlying aging.
The activity of the ECS declines during aging, as CB1 receptor expression and coupling to G proteins are reduced in the brain tissues of older animals and the levels of the major endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are lower. However, a direct link between endocannabinoid tone and aging symptoms has not been demonstrated.
Here we show that a low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reversed the age-related decline in cognitive performance of mice aged 12 and 18 months. This behavioral effect was accompanied by enhanced expression of synaptic marker proteins and increased hippocampal spine density.
THC treatment restored hippocampal gene transcription patterns such that the expression profiles of THC-treated mice aged 12 months closely resembled those of THC-free animals aged 2 months. The transcriptional effects of THC were critically dependent on glutamatergic CB1 receptors and histone acetylation, as their inhibition blocked the beneficial effects of THC.
Thus, restoration of CB1 signaling in old individuals could be an effective strategy to treat age-related cognitive impairments.”
“It has been suggested that the endocannabinoid system elicits neuroprotection against excitotoxic brain damage.
In the present study the therapeutic potential of AM 404 on ischaemia-induced neuronal injury was investigated in vivo and compared with that of the classical cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) agonist, Δ9-tetraydrocannabinol (THC), using a model of transient global cerebral ischaemia in the gerbil.
Our findings demonstrate that AM 404 and THC reduce neuronal damage caused by bilateral carotid occlusion in gerbils and that this protection is mediated through an interaction with CB1 and opioid receptors.
Endocannabinoids might form the basis for the development of new neuroprotective drugs useful for the treatment of stroke and other neurodegenerative pathologies.
There is some evidence from experiments with mice that increasing anandamide or 2-arachidonoyl glycerol content may lead to neuroprotection.
Collectively, our data demonstrate that AM 404 and THC protect against neuronal ischaemia-induced injury through a mechanism involving cannabinoid and opioid receptors but not vanilloid receptors.”
“Endocannabinoids have been recognized as mediators of practically all reproductive events in mammals. However, little is known about the role of this system in oocyte maturation.
In a mouse model, we observed that activation of the cannabinoid receptor (CB)1during in vitro oocyte maturation modulated the phosphorylation status of Akt and ERK1/2 and enhanced the subsequent embryo production. In the absence of the CB1 receptor, in vivo oocyte maturation was impaired and embryo development delayed. The CB2receptor was unable to rescue these effects. Finally, we confirmed abnormal oocyte maturation rather than impaired embryonic transport through the oviduct in CB1 knockouts.
Our data suggest that cannabinoid agonists may be useful in vitro maturation supplements. For in vitro fertilization patients intolerant to gonadotropins, this could be a promising and only option.”
“Previously, we presented electrophysiological evidence for presence in mice brain slices of functional cannabinoid type I receptors (CB1Rs) within the laterodorsal tegmentum (LDT), a brain stem nucleus critical in control of arousal and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Further, using pharmacological agents, we provided data suggestive of the endogenous presence of cannabinoids (CBs) acting at LDT CB1Rs. However, in those studies, we were unable to identify the type(s) of CB ligands endogenously present in the LDT, and this information has not been provided elsewhere. Accordingly, we used the highly-sensitive liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method to determine whether N-arachidonoylethanolamide (Anandamide or AEA) and 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG), which are both endogenous CB ligands acting at CB1Rs, are present in the LDT. Mice brain tissue samples of the LDT were assayed using ion trap LC-MS in selected ion monitoring mode. Chromatographic analysis and product-ion MS scans identified presence of the CBs, AEA and 2-AG, from LDT mouse tissue. Data using the LC-MS method show that AEA and 2-AG are endogenously present within the LDT and when coupled with our electrophysiological findings, lead to the suggestion that AEA and 2-AG act at electropharmacologically-demonstrated CB1Rs in this nucleus. Accordingly, AEA and 2-AG likely play a role in processes governed by the LDT, including control of states of cortical gamma band activity seen in alert, aroused states, as well as cortical and motor activity characteristic of REM sleep.”
“We recently uncovered a signaling mechanism by which the endocannabinoid anandamide mediates the action of oxytocin, a neuropeptide that is crucial for social behavior, to control social reward. Oxytocin signaling has been implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and social reward is a key aspect of social functioning that is thought to be disrupted in ASD. Therefore, as a proof of principle for the core component of ASD—social impairment—we tested an endocannabinoid-enhancing compound on two widely studied mouse models of ASD, the BTBR and fmr1−/− (model of Fragile X Syndrome).
Remarkably, we found that FAAH blockade completely reversed the social impairment in both mouse models. CB1 receptor blockade prevented the prosocial action of FAAH inhibition in BTBR mice.
The results suggest that increasing anandamide activity at CB1 receptors improves ASD-related social impairment and identify FAAH as a novel therapeutic target for ASD.
In conclusion, the present study provides new insights into the role of endocannabinoid signaling in social behavior and validates FAAH as a novel therapeutic target for the social impairment of ASD.”
“The endocannabinoid system has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). We investigated the effect of combined therapy with AM6545, a ‘peripherally’ restricted cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) neutral antagonist, and AM1241, a cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R) agonist, in experimental DN.
Single treatment with either AM6545 or AM1241 alone reduced diabetes-induced albuminuria and prevented nephrin loss both in vivo and in vitro in podocytes exposed to glycated albumin. Dual therapy performed better than monotherapies, as it abolished albuminuria, inflammation, tubular injury and markedly reduced renal fibrosis. Converging anti-inflammatory mechanisms provide an explanation for this greater efficacy as dual therapy abolished diabetes-induced renal monocyte infiltration and M1/M2 macrophage imbalance in vivo and abrogated the profibrotic effect of M1 macrophage-conditioned media on cultured mesangial cells.
‘Peripheral’ CB1R blockade is beneficial in experimental DN and this effect is synergically magnified by CB2R activation.”
“Phytocannabinoids, such as THC and endocannabinoids, are well known to promote feeding behavior and to control energy metabolism through cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CB1R). However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood.
Generally, cannabinoid-conducted retrograde dis-inhibition of hunger-promoting neurons has been suggested to promote food intake, but so far it has not been demonstrated due to technical limitations.
Our immunohistochemical and ultrastructural study demonstrates the morphological substrate for cannabinoid-conducted feeding behavior via retrograde dis-inhibition of hunger-promoting AgRP/NPY neurons.”
“Weight gain is an important side effect of most atypical antipsychotic drugs such as olanzapine. Moreover, although many animal models with metabolic side effects have been well defined, the interaction with other pathways has to be considered.
The endocannabinoid system and the CB1 receptor (CB1R) are among the most promising central and peripheral targets involved in weight and energy balance.
In this study we developed a rat model based 15-days treatment with olanzapine that shows weight gain and an alteration of the blood parameters involved in the regulation of energy balance and glucose metabolism. Consequently, we analysed whether, and by which mechanism, a co-treatment with the novel CB1R neutral antagonist NESS06SM, could attenuate the adverse metabolic effects of olanzapine compared to the reference CB1R inverse agonist rimonabant.
Our results showed alterations of the cannabinoid markers in the nucleus accumbens and of orexigenic/anorexigenic markers in the hypothalamus of female rats treated with olanzapine. These molecular modifications could explain the excessive food intake and the resulting weight gain. Moreover, we confirmed that a co-treatment with CB1R antagonist/inverse agonist compounds decreased food intake and weight increment and restored all blood parameters, without altering the positive effects of olanzapine on behaviour. Furthermore, rimonabant and NESS06SM restored the metabolic enzymes in the liver and fat tissue altered by olanzapine.
Therefore, CB1 receptor antagonist/inverse agonist compounds could be good candidate agents for the treatment of weight gain induced by olanzapine.”
“CB1 receptor antagonists have been shown to prevent acute and long-term behavioral effects of cocaine.
Here we evaluate the effectiveness of the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant to modify sensitized responses to cocaine.
Our findings add to the evidence that drugs targeting CB1 receptors are good candidates for the treatment of cocaine abuse and provide further insights into the mechanisms underlying endocannabinoid signaling within the brain reward system in the context of cocaine abuse.”
“Neuropathic pain is a class of pain caused by an injury or diseases of the somatosensory system and characterized by spontaneous pain, allodynia, and hyperalgesia. It is well established that central sensitization is one of the key mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) of endocannabinoid system modulates synaptic transmission, regulates synaptic plasticity, inhibits central sensitization, and thus attenuates neuropathic pain. Recent studies have shown that activation of CB1R also involves in the relief of neuropathic pain-induced depression.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28364110