Tissue Engineering of Cartilage; Can Cannabinoids Help?


“This review discusses the role of the cannabinoid system in cartilage tissue and endeavors to establish if targeting the cannabinoid system has potential in mesenchymal stem cell based tissue-engineered cartilage repair strategies.

The review discusses the potential of cannabinoids to protect against the degradation of cartilage in inflamed arthritic joints and the influence of cannabinoids on the chondrocyte precursors, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

We provide experimental evidence to show that activation of the cannabinoid system enhances the survival, migration and chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs, which are three major tenets behind the success of a cell-based tissue-engineered cartilage repair strategy.

These findings highlight the potential for cannabinoids to provide a dual function by acting as anti-inflammatory agents as well as regulators of MSC biology in order to enhance tissue engineering strategies aimed at cartilage repair.”

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Cannabinoid WIN-55,212-2 mesylate inhibits interleukin-1β induced matrix metalloproteinase and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase expression in human chondrocytes

Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Home

“Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is involved in the up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) leading to cartilage degradation.

Cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory and reduce joint damage in animal models of arthritis.

This study aimed to determine a mechanism whereby the synthetic cannabinoid WIN-55,212-2 mesylate (WIN-55) may inhibit cartilage degradation.

Cannabinoid WIN-55 can reduce both basal and IL-1β stimulated gene and protein expression of MMP-3 and -13. However WIN-55 also decreased basal levels of TIMP-1 and -2 mRNA.

These actions of WIN-55 suggest a mechanism by which cannabinoids may act to prevent cartilage breakdown in arthritis.”


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Expression of Cannabinoid Receptors in Human Osteoarthritic Cartilage: Implications for Future Therapies

“Cannabinoids have shown to reduce joint damage in animal models of arthritis and reduce matrix metalloproteinase expression in primary human osteoarthritic (OA) chondrocytes.

Chondrocytes from OA joints were shown to express a wide range of cannabinoid receptors even in degenerate tissues, demonstrating that these cells could respond to cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids designed to bind to receptors inhibiting the catabolic and pain pathways within the arthritic joint, while avoiding psychoactive effects, could provide potential arthritis therapies.

Cannabinoids were originally derived from the cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa, which has been used medicinally and recreationally for many years because of its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and psychoactive properties.”


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Effects of cannabinoids on nitric oxide production by chondrocytes and proteoglycan degradation in cartilage.

“Cannabinoids have been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce joint damage in animal models of arthritis.

This suggests a potential therapeutic role in arthritis of this group of compounds.

Cannabinoids were studied to determine whether they have direct effects on chondrocyte metabolism resulting in cartilage protection.

Synthetic cannabinoids, R-(+)-Win-55,212 (Win-2) and S-(-)-Win-55,212 (Win-3) and the endocannabinoid, anandamide, were investigated on unstimulated or IL-1-stimulated nitric oxide (NO) production in bovine articular chondrocytes as well as on cartilage proteoglycan breakdown in bovine nasal cartilage explants.

Win-2 significantly inhibited (P < 0.05) NO production in chondrocytes at 1-10 microM concentrations. The combined CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptor antagonists, AM281 and AM630, respectively, at 100 microM did not block this effect, but instead they potentiated it. Anandamide and Win-2 (5-50 microM) also inhibited the release of sulphated glycosaminoglycans in bovine cartilage explants.

The results suggest that some cannabinoids may prevent cartilage resorption, in part, by inhibiting cytokine-induced NO production by chondrocytes and also by inhibiting proteoglycan degradation.”


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Arthritis and cannabinoids: HU-210 and Win-55,212-2 prevent IL-1alpha-induced matrix degradation in bovine articular chondrocytes in-vitro.


“Cannabinoids have analgesic, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties and attenuate joint damage in animal models of arthritis.

Chondrocytes appeared to constitutively express cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.

It is concluded that biologically stable synthetic cannabinoids protect cartilage matrix from degradation induced by cytokines and this effect is possibly CB-receptor mediated and involves effects on prostaglandin and nitric oxide metabolism.”


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Cannabinoids: novel therapies for arthritis?

“A key feature of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is the loss of articular cartilage.

Cartilage breakdown is mediated by complex interactions of proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1, inflammatory mediators, including nitric oxide and prostaglandin E(2), and proteases, including matrix metalloproteinases and aggrecanases, such as ADAMTS-4 and -5.

Cannabinoids have been shown to reduce joint damage in animal models of arthritis.

They have also been shown to prevent IL-1-induced matrix breakdown of collagen and proteoglycan, indicating that cannabinoids may mediate chondroprotective effects.

Cannabinoids produce their effects via several cannabinoid receptors and it is important to identify the key cannabinoids and their receptors that are involved in chondroprotection.

This review aims to outline the current and future prospects of cannabinoids as anti-arthritic therapeutics, in terms of their ability to prevent cartilage breakdown.”


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Cannabinoid WIN‑55,212‑2 mesylate inhibits ADAMTS‑4 activity in human osteoarthritic articular chondrocytes by inhibiting expression of syndecan‑1.

“A central feature of osteoarthritis (OA) is the loss of articular cartilage, which is primarily attributed to cartilage breakdown.

Accumulating evidence also suggests that cannabinoids have chondroprotective effects.

In conclusion, to the best of our knowledge, the present study provides the first in vitro evidence supporting that the synthetic cannabinoid WIN‑55 inhibits ADAMTS‑4 activity in unstimulated and IL‑1β‑stimulated human OA articular chondrocytes by decreasing the mRNA stability/expression of syndecan‑1 via CB2.

This suggests a novel mechanism by which cannabinoids may prevent cartilage breakdown in OA.

In addition, it also provides novel insights into the pharmacological effects of synthetic cannabinoids on OA.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27082728

“Chondroprotective: A specific compound or chemical that delays progressive joint space narrowing characteristic of arthritis and improvesthe biomechanics of articular joints by protecting chondrocytes.”   http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/chondroprotective

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