Alleviation of Neuropathology by Inhibition of Monoacylglycerol Lipase in APP Transgenic Mice Lacking CB2 Receptors.

Molecular Neurobiology

“Inhibition of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the primary enzyme that hydrolyzes the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, produces profound anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects and improves synaptic and cognitive functions in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects produced by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism are still not clear.

The cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R) has been thought to be a therapeutic target for AD. Here, we provide evidence, however, that CB2R does not play a role in ameliorating AD neuropathology produced by inactivation of MAGL in 5XFAD APP transgenic mice, an animal model of AD.

Our results suggest that CB2R is not required in ameliorating neuropathology and preventing cognitive decline by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism in AD model animals.”

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AM1241 alleviates MPTP-induced Parkinson’s disease and promotes the regeneration of DA neurons in PD mice.

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“The main pathological feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. In this study, we investigated the role of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) agonist AM1241 on 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced neurotoxicity in a mouse model of PD. Upon treatment with AM1241, the decreased CB2R level in the PD mouse brain was reversed and the behavior score markedly elevated, accompanied with a dose-dependent increase of dopamine and serotonin. In addition, western blot assay and immunostaining results suggested that AM1241 significantly activated PI3K/Akt/MEK phosphorylation and increased the expression of Parkin and PINK1, both in the substantia nigra and hippocampus. The mRNA expression analysis further demonstrated that AM1241 increased expression of the CB2R and activated Parkin/PINK1 signaling pathways. Furthermore, the increased number of TH-positive cells in the substantia nigra indicated that AM1241 regenerated DA neurons in PD mice, and could therefore be a potential candidate for PD treatment. The clear co-localization of CB2R and DA neurons suggested that AM1241 targeted CB2R, thus also identifying a novel target for PD treatment. In conclusion, the selective CB2 agonist AM1241 has a significant therapeutic effect on PD mice and resulted in regeneration of DA neurons following MPTP-induced neurotoxicity. The possible mechanisms underlying the neurogenesis effect of AM1241 might be the induction of CB2R expression and an increase in phosphorylation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.”

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Endocannabinoids exert CB1 receptor-mediated neuroprotective effects in models of neuronal damage induced by HIV-1 Tat protein.

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“In the era of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is considered a chronic disease that specifically targets the brain and causes HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Endocannabinoids (eCBs) elicit neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory actions in several central nervous system (CNS) disease models, but their effects in HAND remain unknown. HIV-1 does not infect neurons, but produces viral toxins, such as transactivator of transcription (Tat), that disrupt neuronal calcium equilibrium and give rise to synaptodendritic injuries and cell death, the former being highly correlated with HAND. Consequently, we tested whether the eCBs N-arachidonoyl ethanolamine (anandamide/AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG) offer neuroprotective actions in a neuronal culture model. Specifically, we examined the neuroprotective actions of these eCBs on Tat excitotoxicity in primary cultures of prefrontal cortex neurons (PFC), and whether cannabinoid receptors mediate this neuroprotection. Tat-induced excitotoxicity was reflected by increased intracellular calcium levels, synaptodendritic damage, neuronal excitability, and neuronal death. Further, upregulation of cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R) protein levels was noted in the presence of HIV-1 Tat. The direct application of AEA and 2-AG reduced excitotoxic levels of intracellular calcium and promoted neuronal survival following Tat exposure, which was prevented by the CB1R antagonist rimonabant, but not by the CB2R antagonist AM630. Overall, our findings indicate that eCBs protect PFC neurons from Tat excitotoxicity in vitro via a CB1R-related mechanism. Thus, the eCB system possesses promising targets for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders associated with HIV-1 infection.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28733129

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1044743117300830

 

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Endocannabinoids Have Opposing Effects On Behavioral Responses To Nociceptive And Non-nociceptive Stimuli.

“The endocannabinoid system is thought to modulate nociceptive signaling making it a potential therapeutic target for treating pain.

However, there is evidence that endocannabinoids have both pro- and anti-nociceptive effects. In previous studies using Hirudo verbana (the medicinal leech), endocannabinoids were found to depress nociceptive synapses, but enhance non-nociceptive synapses. Here we examined whether endocannabinoids have similar bidirectional effects on behavioral responses to nociceptive vs. non-nociceptive stimuli in vivo.

These results provide evidence that endocannabinoids can have opposing effects on nociceptive vs. non-nociceptive pathways and suggest that cannabinoid-based therapies may be more appropriate for treating pain disorders in which hyperalgesia and not allodynia is the primary symptom.”

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The synthetic cannabinoid WIN55212-2 ameliorates traumatic spinal cord injury via inhibition of GAPDH/Siah1 in a CB2-receptor dependent manner.

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“The essential role of GAPDH/Siah1 signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of various injurious conditions such as traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) has been gradually recognized. However, the drugs targeting this signaling pathway are still lacking.

The endocannabinoid system, including its receptors (CB1 and CB2), act as neuroprotective and immunomodulatory modulators in SCI. WIN55212-2, an agonist for CB1 and CB2 receptors, has been demonstrated with anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects in multiple neurological diseases. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate whether WIN55212-2 could promote functional recovery after traumatic SCI via inhibition of the GAPDH/Siah1 signaling.

In conclusion, our study indicates that, WIN55212-2 improves the functional recovery after SCI via inhibition of GAPDH/Siah1 cascades in a CB2 receptor dependent manner, indicative of its therapeutic potential for traumatic SCI or other traumatic conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28716633

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Sativex® effects on promoter methylation and on CNR1/CNR2 expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of progressive multiple sclerosis patients.

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“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating central nervous system (CNS) disease that involve oligodendrocyte loss and failure to remyelinate damaged brain areas causing a progressive neurological disability.

Studies in MS mouse model suggest that cannabinoids ameliorate symptoms as spasticity, tremor and pain reducing inflammation via cannabinoid-mediated system.

The aim of our study is to investigate the changes in cannabinoid type 1 (CNR1) and 2 (CNR2) receptors mRNA expression levels and promoter methylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of MS secondary progressive (MSS-SP) patients treated with Sativex®.

These results suggest that the different expression of cannabinoid receptors by Sativex® treatment in leukocytes might be regulated through a molecular mechanism that involve interferon modulation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28716266

http://www.jns-journal.com/article/S0022-510X(17)30392-1/fulltext

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Engineering yeasts as platform organisms for cannabinoid biosynthesis.

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“Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is a plant derived secondary natural product from the plant Cannabis sativa l. The discovery of the human endocannabinoid system in the late 1980s resulted in a growing number of known physiological functions of both synthetic and plant derived cannabinoids. Thus, manifold therapeutic indications of cannabinoids currently comprise a significant area of research. Here we reconstituted the final biosynthetic cannabinoid pathway in yeasts. The use of the soluble prenyltransferase NphB from Streptomyces sp. strain CL190 enables the replacement of the native transmembrane prenyltransferase cannabigerolic acid synthase from C. sativa. In addition to the desired product cannabigerolic acid, NphB catalyzes an O-prenylation leading to 2-O-geranyl olivetolic acid. We show for the first time that the bacterial prenyltransferase and the final enzyme of the cannabinoid pathway tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase can both be actively expressed in the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Komagataella phaffii simultaneously. While enzyme activities in S. cerevisiae were insufficient to produce THCA from olivetolic acid and geranyl diphosphate, genomic multi-copy integrations of the enzyme’s coding sequences in K. phaffii resulted in successful synthesis of THCA from olivetolic acid and geranyl diphosphate. This study is an important step toward total biosynthesis of valuable cannabinoids and derivatives and demonstrates the potential for developing a sustainable and secure yeast bio-manufacturing platform.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28694184  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168165617315201

“Production of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid from cannabigerolic acid by whole cells of Pichia (Komagataella) pastoris expressing Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase from Cannabis sativa L.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25994576

“Scientists Engineer Yeast to Produce Active Marijuana Compound, THC”  https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-engineer-yeast-to-produce-active-marijuana-compound-thc

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Anticonvulsant effect of cannabinoid receptor agonists in models of seizures in developing rats.

Epilepsia

“Although drugs targeting the cannabinoid system (e.g., CB1 receptor agonists) display anticonvulsant efficacy in adult animal models of seizures/epilepsy, they remain unexplored in developing animal models. However, cannabinoid system functions emerge early in development, providing a rationale for targeting this system in neonates.

We examined the therapeutic potential of drugs targeting the cannabinoid system in three seizure models in developing rats.

The mixed CB1/2 agonist and the CB1-specific agonist, but no other drugs, displayed anticonvulsant effects against clonic seizures in the DMCM model. By contrast, both CB1 and CB2 antagonism increased seizure severity. Similarly, we found that the CB1/2 agonist displayed antiseizure efficacy against acute hypoxia-induced seizures (automatisms, clonic and tonic-clonic seizures) and tonic-clonic seizures evoked by PTZ.

Early life seizures represent a significant cause of morbidity, with 30-40% of infants and children with epilepsy failing to achieve seizure remission with current pharmacotherapy. Identification of new therapies for neonatal/infantile epilepsy syndromes is thus of high priority.

These data indicate that the anticonvulsant action of the CB system is specific to CB1 receptor activation during early development and provide justification for further examination of CB1 receptor agonists as novel antiepileptic drugs targeting epilepsy in infants and children.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28691158

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epi.13842/abstract

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Anti-inflammatory ω-3 endocannabinoid epoxides.

 Current Issue

“Clinical studies suggest that diets rich in ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) provide beneficial anti-inflammatory effects, in part through their conversion to bioactive metabolites. Here we report on the endogenous production of a previously unknown class of ω-3 PUFA-derived lipid metabolites that originate from the crosstalk between endocannabinoid and cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenase metabolic pathways. The ω-3 endocannabinoid epoxides are derived from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to form epoxyeicosatetraenoic acid-ethanolamide (EEQ-EA) and epoxydocosapentaenoic acid-ethanolamide (EDP-EA), respectively. Both EEQ-EAs and EDP-EAs are endogenously present in rat brain and peripheral organs as determined via targeted lipidomics methods. These metabolites were directly produced by direct epoxygenation of the ω-3 endocannabinoids, docosahexanoyl ethanolamide (DHEA) and eicosapentaenoyl ethanolamide (EPEA) by activated BV-2 microglial cells, and by human CYP2J2. Neuroinflammation studies revealed that the terminal epoxides 17,18-EEQ-EA and 19,20-EDP-EA dose-dependently abated proinflammatory IL-6 cytokines while increasing anti-inflammatory IL-10 cytokines, in part through cannabinoid receptor-2 activation. Furthermore the ω-3 endocannabinoid epoxides 17,18-EEQ-EA and 19,20-EDP-EA exerted antiangiogenic effects in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) and vasodilatory actions on bovine coronary arteries and reciprocally regulated platelet aggregation in washed human platelets. Taken together, the ω-3 endocannabinoid epoxides’ physiological effects are mediated through both endocannabinoid and epoxyeicosanoid signaling pathways. In summary, the ω-3 endocannabinoid epoxides are found at concentrations comparable to those of other endocannabinoids and are expected to play critical roles during inflammation in vivo; thus their identification may aid in the development of therapeutics for neuroinflammatory and cerebrovascular diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28687674

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/06/1610325114

“Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170718142909.htm

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Polyunsaturated fatty acids and endocannabinoids in health and disease.

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“Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are lipid derivatives of omega-3 (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) or of omega-6 (arachidonic acid, ARA) synthesized from membrane phospholipids and used as a precursor for endocannabinoids (ECs). They mediate significant effects in the fine-tune adjustment of body homeostasis. Phyto- and synthetic cannabinoids also rule the daily life of billions worldwide, as they are involved in obesity, depression and drug addiction. Consequently, there is growing interest to reveal novel active compounds in this field. Cloning of cannabinoid receptors in the 90s and the identification of the endogenous mediators arachidonylethanolamide (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonyglycerol (2-AG), led to the characterization of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), together with their metabolizing enzymes and membrane transporters. Today, the ECS is known to be involved in diverse functions such as appetite control, food intake, energy balance, neuroprotection, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, mood disorders, emesis, modulation of pain, inflammatory responses, as well as in cancer therapy. Western diet as well as restriction of micronutrients and fatty acids, such as DHA, could be related to altered production of pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g. eicosanoids) and ECs, contributing to the progression of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, depression or impairing conditions, such as Alzheimer’ s disease. Here we review how diets based in PUFAs might be linked to ECS and to the maintenance of central and peripheral metabolism, brain plasticity, memory and learning, blood flow, and genesis of neural cells.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28686542

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1028415X.2017.1347373?journalCode=ynns20

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