Plasma anandamide concentrations are lower in children with autism spectrum disorder.

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“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by restricted, stereotyped behaviors and impairments in social communication.

Although the underlying biological mechanisms of ASD remain poorly understood, recent preclinical research has implicated the endogenous cannabinoid (or endocannabinoid), anandamide, as a significant neuromodulator in rodent models of ASD. Despite this promising preclinical evidence, no clinical studies to date have tested whether endocannabinoids are dysregulated in individuals with ASD.

Here, we addressed this critical gap in knowledge by optimizing liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry methodology to quantitatively analyze anandamide concentrations in banked blood samples collected from a cohort of children with and without ASD (N = 112).


Anandamide concentrations significantly differentiated ASD cases (N = 59) from controls (N = 53), such that children with lower anandamide concentrations were more likely to have ASD (p = 0.041). In keeping with this notion, anandamide concentrations were also significantly lower in ASD compared to control children (p = 0.034).


These findings are the first empirical human data to translate preclinical rodent findings to confirm a link between plasma anandamide concentrations in children with ASD. Although preliminary, these data suggest that impaired anandamide signaling may be involved in the pathophysiology of ASD.”

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Glial expression of cannabinoid CB(2) receptors and fatty acid amide hydrolase are beta amyloid-linked events in Down’s syndrome.


“Recent data suggest that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may be involved in the glial response in different types of brain injury. Both acute and chronic insults seem to trigger a shift in the pattern of expression of some elements of this system from neuronal to glial. Specifically, data obtained in human brain tissue sections from Alzheimer’s disease patients showed that the expression of cannabinoid receptors of the CB(2) type is induced in activated microglial cells while fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) expression is increased in reactive astrocytes. The present study was designed to determine the time-course of the shift from neuronal to glial induction in the expression of these proteins in Down‘s syndrome, sometimes referred to as a human model of Alzheimer-like beta-amyloid (Abeta) deposition. Here we present immunohistochemical evidence that both CB(2) receptors and FAAH enzyme are induced in Abeta plaque-associated microglia and astroglia, respectively, in Down‘s syndrome. These results suggest that the induction of these elements of the ECS contributes to, or is a result of, amyloid deposition and subsequent plaque formation. In addition, they confirm a striking differential pattern of distribution of FAAH and CB(2) receptors.”

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Reduced levels of the endocannabinoid arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) in hair in patients with borderline personality disorder – a pilot study.

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“Endocannabinoids are involved in depressive and anxious symptoms and might play a role in stress-associated psychiatric disorders.

While alterations in the endogenous cannabinoid system have been repeatedly found in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this system has been mostly neglected in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, there is first evidence for elevated serum levels of the endocannabinoids arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonyl-sn-glycerol (2-AG) in BPD patients compared to healthy controls and PTSD patients.

In this study, hair endocannabinoids were analyzed, reflecting long-term endocannabinoid concentrations. We assessed AEA concentrations as well as 2-AG and the 2-AG main isomer 1-AG (1-AG/2-AG) in hair in women with BPD (n = 15) and age- and education-matched healthy women (n = 16).

We found significantly reduced log AEA in BPD patients compared to healthy women (p = .03) but no differences in log 1-AG/2-AG concentrations. In addition, there was no association between 1-AG/2-AG and hair cortisol, but we found a non-significant correlation between hair concentrations of AEA and cortisol (p = .06).

Our data indicate altered long-term release of endogenous cannabinoids in women with BPD depending on type of endocannabinoid. AEA has been suggested to modulate the basal activity of the endocannabinoid system and seems to attenuate depressive and anxious symptoms. Thus, chronically reduced AEA might contribute to psychiatric symptoms in BPD.”

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Anticonvulsive effects of endocannabinoids; an investigation to determine the role of regulatory components of endocannabinoid metabolism in the Pentylenetetrazol induced tonic- clonic seizures.

Metabolic Brain Disease

“2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide are two major endocannabinoids produced, released and eliminated by metabolic pathways.

Anticonvulsive effect of 2-AG and CB1 receptor is well-established. Herein, we designed to investigate the anticonvulsive influence of key components of the 2-AG and anandamide metabolism.

It seems extracellular accumulation of 2-AG or anandamide has anticonvulsive effect through the CB1 receptor, while intracellular anandamide accumulation is proconvulsive through TRPV1.”

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Alterations of endocannabinoids in cerebrospinal fluid of dogs with epileptic seizure disorder.

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“Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders in dogs characterized by recurrent seizures. The endocannabinoid (EC) system plays a central role in suppressing pathologic neuronal excitability and in controlling the spread of activity in an epileptic network. Endocannabinoids are released on demand and their dysregulation has been described in several pathological conditions. Recurrent seizures may lead to an adverse reorganization of the EC system and impairment of its protective effect. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2AG) are altered in epileptic dogs. Concentrations of AEA and total AG (sum of 2AG and 1AG) were measured in 40 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and in 16 unaffected, healthy control dogs using liquid chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry.


AEA and total AG were measured at 4.94 (3.18 – 9.17) pM and 1.43 (0.90 – 1.92) nM in epileptic dogs and at 3.19 (2.04 – 4.28) pM and 1.76 (1.08 – 2.69) nM in the control group, respectively (median, 25 – 75% percentiles in brackets). The AEA difference between epileptic and healthy dogs was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Values correlated with seizure severity and duration of seizure activity. Dogs with cluster seizures and/or status epilepticus and with seizure activity for more than six months displayed the highest EC concentrations.


In conclusion, we present the first endocannabinoid measurements in canine CSF and confirm the hypothesis that the EC system is altered in canine idiopathic epilepsy.”

“In conclusion, we demonstrated an elevation of CSF AEA concentrations in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. The highest AEA concentrations were found in dogs with severe seizures and a long disease history. Possibly, the activation of the EC system serves as a counter-mechanism in order to regulate the seizure-threshold in epilepsy. However, the EC system can either alter or be altered by seizure activity, so that further, prospective studies are warranted to investigate pathological mechanisms. Despite endocannabinoids can be synthesized “on demand”, the EC system should be considered for development of new treatment strategies against epilepsy.”

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Endocannabinoid tone regulates human sebocyte biology.

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“We have previously shown that i) endocannabinoids (eCB; e.g. anandamide [AEA]) are involved in the maintenance of homeostatic sebaceous lipid production (SLP) in human sebaceous glands (SG); and ii) eCB treatment dramatically increases SLP. Here, we aimed to investigate the expression of the major eCB synthesizing and degrading enzymes, and to study the effects of eCB uptake inhibitors on human SZ95 sebocytes, thus exploring the role of the putative eCB membrane transporter (EMT), which has been hypothesized to facilitate the cellular uptake and subsequent degradation of eCBs. We found that the major eCB synthesizing (NAPE-PLD, DAGLα and -β) and degrading (FAAH, MAGL) enzymes are expressed in SZ95 sebocytes, and also in SGs (except for DAGLα, whose staining was dubious in histological preparations). Interestingly, eCB uptake-inhibition with VDM11 induced a moderate increase in SLP, and also elevated the levels of various eCBs and related acylethanolamides. Finally, we found that VDM11 was able to interfere with the pro-inflammatory action of the Toll-like receptor 4 activator lipopolysaccharide. Collectively, our data suggest that inhibition of eCB uptake exerts anti-inflammatory actions and elevates both SLP and eCB levels; thus, these inhibitors might be beneficial in cutaneous inflammatory conditions accompanied by dry skin.”

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The anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol in chronically stressed mice are mediated by the endocannabinoid system: Role of neurogenesis and dendritic remodeling.

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“Repeated injections of cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychotomimetic compound present in the Cannabis sativa plant, attenuate the anxiogenic effects induced by Chronic Unpredictable Stress (CUS). The specific mechanisms remain to be fully understood but seem to involve adult hippocampal neurogenesis and recruitment of endocannabinoids.

Here we investigated for the first time if the behavioral and pro-neurogenic effects of CBD administered concomitant the CUS procedure (14 days) are mediated by CB1, CB2 or 5HT1A receptors, as well as CBD effects on dendritic remodeling and on intracellular/synaptic signaling (fatty acid amide hydrolase – FAAH, Akt, GSK3β and the synaptic proteins Synapsin Ia/b, mGluR1 and PSD95).

After 14 days, CBD injections (30 mg/kg) induced anxiolytic responses in stressed animals in the elevated plus-maze and novelty suppressed feeding tests, that were blocked by pre-treatment with a CB1 (AM251, 0.3 mg/kg) or CB2 (AM630, 0.3 mg/kg), but not by a 5HT1A (WAY100635, 0.05 mg/kg) receptor antagonist. Golgi staining and immunofluorescence revealed that these effects were associated with an increase in hippocampal neurogenesis and spine density in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. AM251 and AM630 abolished the effects of CBD on spines density. However, AM630 was more effective in attenuating the pro-neurogenic effects of CBD. CBD decreased FAAH and increased p-GSK3β expression in stressed animals, which was also attenuated by AM630.

These results indicate that CBD prevents the behavioral effects caused by CUS probably due to a facilitation of endocannabinoid neurotransmission and consequent CB1/CB2receptors activation, which could recruit intracellular/synaptic proteins involved in neurogenesis and dendritic remodeling.”

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Toxicity, Cannabinoids.

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“Cannabinoids are a collective group of compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors. They include plant-derived phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and endogenously-derived endocannabinoids. The primary source of cannabinoid toxicity is from plant-derived cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids. These agents act as cannabinoid receptor agonists. More than 60 naturally occurring cannabinoids are found in the Sativa and Indica species of Cannabis, with delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the main psychoactive compound. Other naturally occurring cannabinoids include cannabidiol and cannabinol. Marijuana is the most common colloquial name for crushed, dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis plant. In recent years, there have been many reports of marijuana toxicity, primarily in the pediatric population, as medical and recreational marijuana has been legalized. The terms phytocannabinoids, marijuana and cannabis are used interchangeably. Synthetic cannabinoids were created for therapeutic and research purposes; however, despite legal efforts to limit their availability, synthetic cannabinoids have become an increasingly common drug of abuse, sold under various street names such as K2, Spice, and Black Mamba. Synthetic cannabinoids are associated with much more morbidity and mortality than the phytocannabinoids. Prescription preparations for medical usage include dronabinol, or pure THC, nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, and cannabidiol (CBD). Pharmaceutical use of cannabinoids is an ongoing field of research.”

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Innovative Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoid Receptors as Targets in Alzheimer’s disease and Less Well-Known Diseases.

“The discovery of cannabinoid receptors at the beginning of the 1990s, CB1 being cloned in 1990 and CB2 cloned in 1993, and the availability of selective and potent cannabimimetics could only be justified by the existence of endogenous ligands that are capable of binding to them. Thus, the characterisation and cloning of the first cannabinoid receptor (CB1) led to the isolation and characterisation of the first endocannabinoid, arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), two years later and the subsequent identification of a family of lipid transmitters known as the fatty acid ester 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The endogenous cannabinoid system is a complex signalling system that comprises transmembrane endocannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands (the endocannabinoids), the specific uptake mechanisms and the enzymatic systems related to their biosynthesis and degradation. The endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a wide diversity of biological processes, in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, including memory, learning, neuronal development, stress and emotions, food intake, energy regulation, peripheral metabolism, and the regulation of hormonal balance through the endocrine system. In this context, this article will review the current knowledge of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoid receptor as a target in Alzheimer’s disease and other less well-known diseases that include, among others, multiple sclerosis, bone metabolism, and Fragile X syndrome. The therapeutic applications will be addressed through the study of cannabinoid agonists acting as single drugs and multi-target drugs highlighting the CB2 receptor agonist.”

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2-AG limits Theiler’s virus induced acute neuroinflammation by modulating microglia and promoting MDSCs.


“The innate immune response is mediated by primary immune modulators such as cytokines and chemokines that together with immune cells and resident glia orchestrate CNS immunity and inflammation. Growing evidence supports that the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) exerts protective actions in CNS injury models. Here, we used the acute phase of Theiler’s virus induced demyelination disease (TMEV-IDD) as a model of acute neuroinflammation to investigate whether 2-AG modifies the brain innate immune responses to TMEV and CNS leukocyte trafficking. 2-AG or the inhibition of its hydrolysis diminished the reactivity and number of microglia at the TMEV injection site reducing their morphological complexity and modulating them towards an anti-inflammatory state via CB2 receptors. Indeed, 2-AG dampened the infiltration of immune cells into the CNS and inhibited their egress from the spleen, resulting in long-term beneficial effects at the chronic phase of the disease. Intriguingly, it is not a generalized action over leukocytes since 2-AG increased the presence and suppressive potency of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the brain resulting in higher apoptotic CD4+ T cells at the injection site. Together, these data suggest a robust modulatory effect in the peripheral and central immunity by 2-AG and highlight the interest of modulating endogenous cannabinoids to regulate CNS inflammatory conditions.”

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