Druggable Targets in Endocannabinoid Signaling

 “Cannabis and cannabinoid-based extracts have long been utilized for their perceived therapeutic value, and support for the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes continues to increase worldwide.

Since the discovery of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as the primary psychoactive component of cannabis over 50 years ago, substantial effort has been directed toward detection of endogenous mediators of cannabinoid activity. The discovery of anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol as two endogenous lipid mediators of cannabinoid-like effects (endocannabinoids) has inspired exponential growth in our understanding of this essential pathway, as well as the pathological conditions that result from dysregulated endocannabinoid signaling.

This review examines current knowledge of the endocannabinoid system including metabolic enzymes involved in biosynthesis and degradation and their receptors, and evaluates potential druggable targets for therapeutic intervention.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32894511/

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-50621-6_8

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Endocannabinoid-Epigenetic Cross-Talk: A Bridge toward Stress Coping

ijms-logo“There is no argument with regard to the physical and psychological stress-related nature of neuropsychiatric disorders. Yet, the mechanisms that facilitate disease onset starting from molecular stress responses are elusive.

Environmental stress challenges individuals’ equilibrium, enhancing homeostatic request in the attempt to steer down arousal-instrumental molecular pathways that underlie hypervigilance and anxiety.

A relevant homeostatic pathway is the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

In this review, we summarize recent discoveries unambiguously listing ECS as a stress coping mechanism.

As stress evokes huge excitatory responses in emotional-relevant limbic areas, the ECS limits glutamate release via 2-arachydonilglycerol (2-AG) stress-induced synthesis and retrograde cannabinoid 1 (CB1)-receptor activation at the synapse. However, ECS shows intrinsic vulnerability as 2-AG overstimulation by chronic stress rapidly leads to CB1-receptor desensitization.

In this review, we emphasize the protective role of 2-AG in stress-response termination and stress resiliency. Interestingly, we discuss ECS regulation with a further nuclear homeostatic system whose nature is exquisitely epigenetic, orchestrated by Lysine Specific Demethylase 1.

We here emphasize a remarkable example of stress-coping network where transcriptional homeostasis subserves synaptic and behavioral adaptation, aiming at reducing psychiatric effects of traumatic experiences.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32872402/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/17/6252

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Distinctive Evidence Involved in the Role of Endocannabinoid Signalling in Parkinson’s Disease: A Perspective on Associated Therapeutic Interventions

ijms-logo“Current pharmacotherapy of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is symptomatic and palliative, with levodopa/carbidopa therapy remaining the prime treatment, and nevertheless, being unable to modulate the progression of the neurodegeneration. No available treatment for PD can enhance the patient’s life-quality by regressing this diseased state.

Various studies have encouraged the enrichment of treatment possibilities by discovering the association of the effects of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in PD.

These reviews delineate the reported evidence from the literature on the neuromodulatory role of the endocannabinoid system and expression of cannabinoid receptors in symptomatology, cause, and treatment of PD progression, wherein cannabinoid (CB) signalling experiences alterations of biphasic pattern during PD progression.

Endocannabinoids regulate the basal ganglia neuronal circuit pathways, synaptic plasticity, and motor functions via communication with dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and GABAergic signalling systems bidirectionally in PD.

Further, gripping preclinical and clinical studies demonstrate the context regarding the cannabinoid compounds, which is supported by various evidence (neuroprotection, suppression of excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, glial activation, and additional benefits) provided by cannabinoid-like compounds (much research addresses the direct regulation of cannabinoids with dopamine transmission and other signalling pathways in PD).

More data related to endocannabinoids efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetic profiles need to be explored, providing better insights into their potential to ameliorate or even regress PD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32872273/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/17/6235

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Meet Your Stress Management Professionals: The Endocannabinoids

Trends in Molecular Medicine (@TrendsMolecMed) | Twitter“The endocannabinoid signaling system (ECSS) is altered by exposure to stress and mediates and modulates the effects of stress on the brain.

Considerable preclinical data support critical roles for the endocannabinoids and their target, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, in the adaptation of the brain to repeated stress exposure.

Chronic stress exposure increases vulnerability to mental illness, so the ECSS has attracted attention as a potential therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of stress-related psychopathology.

We discuss human genetic studies indicating that the ECSS contributes to risk for mental illness in those exposed to severe stress and trauma early in life, and we explore the potential difficulties in pharmacological manipulation of the ECSS.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32868170/

https://www.cell.com/trends/molecular-medicine/fulltext/S1471-4914(20)30177-5?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1471491420301775%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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Targeting Endocannabinoid Signaling: FAAH and MAG Lipase Inhibitors

Annual Reviews adds Remarq® across its collection of 47 journals – RedLink“Inspired by the medicinal properties of the plant Cannabis sativa and its principal component (-)-trans9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), researchers have developed a variety of compounds to modulate the endocannabinoid system in the human brain.

Inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), which are the enzymes responsible for the inactivation of the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, respectively, may exert therapeutic effects without inducing the adverse side effects associated with direct cannabinoid CB1 receptor stimulation by THC.

Here we review the FAAH and MAGL inhibitors that have reached clinical trials, discuss potential caveats, and provide an outlook on where the field is headed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32867595/

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-030220-112741

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Naturally Occurring Cannabinoids and their Role in Modulation of Cardiovascular Health

 Publication Cover“In recent years, the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in various cardiovascular conditions has been a subject of great interest. The ECS is composed of cannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands, also known as endocannabinoids, and enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids.

Several lines of evidence suggest that the ECS plays a complex role in cardiac and vascular systems; however, under normal physiological conditions the functions of the ECS are limited. Overactivation of components of the ECS has been associated with various cardiovascular conditions.

Intriguingly, activation of the ECS may also reflect a cardioprotective compensatory mechanism. With this knowledge, a range of naturally occurring and synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists, as well as inhibitors of endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes have emerged as promising approaches for the treatment or management of cardiovascular health.

This review will first focus on the known role of the ECS in regulating the cardiovascular system. Secondly, we discuss emerging data highlighting the therapeutic potential of naturally occurring non-psychoactive ECS modulators within the cardiovascular system, including phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and the endocannabinoid-like molecule palmitoylethanolamide.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32677481/

“Several approaches discussed here, including administration of eCB-related molecules such as PEA, or supplementing with various phytocannabinoids can be promising candidates for the management of cardiovascular risk factors and CVD.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19390211.2020.1790708

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The endocannabinoid system

Essays in Biochemistry “Thirty years ago, the discovery of a cannabinoid (CB) receptor that interacts with the psychoactive compound in Cannabis led to the identification of anandamide, an endogenous receptor ligand or endocannabinoid. Research on endocannabinoids has since exploded, and additional receptors along with their lipid mediators and signaling pathways continue to be revealed. Specifically, in humans, the release of endocannabinoids from membrane lipids occurs on demand and the signaling process is rapidly attenuated by the breakdown of the ligand suggesting a tight regulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Additionally, the varying distribution of CB receptors between the central nervous system and other tissues allows for the ECS to participate in a wide range of cognitive and physiological processes. Select plant-derived ‘phyto’cannabinoids such as Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) bind to the CB receptors and trigger the ECS, and in the case of Δ9-THC, while it has therapeutic value, can also produce detrimental effects. Current research is aimed at the identification of additional phytocannabinoids with minimal psychotropic effects with potential for therapeutic development. Although decades of research on the ECS and its components have expanded our understanding of the mechanisms and implications of endocannabinoid signaling in mammals, it continues to evolve. Here, we provide a brief overview of the ECS and its overlap with other related lipid-mediated signaling pathways.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32648908/

“Therapeutic intervention in the dysregulation of the ECS will no doubt involve new phytocannabinoids and various synthetic CBs with which to control an increasing list of ECS- related pathologies.”

https://portlandpress.com/essaysbiochem/article/doi/10.1042/EBC20190086/225762/The-endocannabinoid-system

Anandamide and 2-AG are the principal endogenous ligands that define the classical endocannabinoid signaling system (ECS).

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Antiemetic Effects of Cannabinoid Agonists in Nonhuman Primates

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics“Attenuating emesis elicited by both disease and medical treatments of disease remains a critical public health challenge.

Although cannabinergic medications have been used in certain treatment-resistant populations, FDA-approved cannabinoid antiemetics are associated with undesirable side effects, including cognitive disruption, that limit their prescription. Previous studies have shown that a metabolically stable analog of the endocannabinoid anandamide, methanandamide (mAEA), may produce lesser cognitive disruption than that associated with the primary psychoactive constituent in cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), raising the possibility that endocannabinoids may offer a therapeutic advantage over currently used medications.

The present studies were conducted to evaluate this possibility by comparing the antiemetic effects of Δ9-THC (0.032-0.1 mg/kg) and mAEA (3.2-10.0 mg/kg), against nicotine- and lithium chloride (LiCl)-induced emesis and prodromal hypersalivation in squirrel monkeys.

These studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of cannabinoid agonists in nonhuman primates. Importantly, although Δ9-THC produced superior antiemetic effects, the milder cognitive effects of mAEA demonstrated in previous studies suggests that it may provide a favorable treatment option under clinical circumstances in which antiemetic efficacy must be balanced against side-effect liability.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Emesis has significant evolutionary value as a defense mechanism against ingested toxins; however, it is also one of the most common adverse symptoms associated with both disease and medical treatments of disease. The development of improved anti-emetic pharmacotherapies has been impeded by a paucity of animal models.

The present studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and endocannabinoid-analog methanandamide in nonhuman primates.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32561684/

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/early/2020/06/19/jpet.120.265710

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Non-opioid Analgesics and the Endocannabinoid System

 Balkan Medical Journal“Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known to produce antinociceptive effects mainly through peripheral COX-inhibition. Paracetamol and dipyrone are different from classical NSAIDs, because they exert weak anti-inflammatory activity; mechanisms other than peripheral COX inhibition appear to play role in their antinociceptive actions. In this review, we specified classical NSAIDs, paracetamol and dipyrone as “non-opioid analgesics” and discussed the mechanisms mediating participation of the endocannabinoid system in the antinociceptive effects of these analgesics. Non-opioid analgesics and their metabolites may activate cannabinoid receptors. In addition, several mechanisms are implicated in the elevation of endocannabinoid levels following administration of non-opioid analgesics. Of these, reduction of endocannabinoid degradation via FAAH and/or COX-2 inhibition, accumulation of arachidonic acid to endocannabinoid biosynthesis following COX inhibition, inhibition of cellular uptake of endocannabinoids directly or following inhibition of nitric oxide synthase production, and induction of endocannabinoid release are among the proposed mechanisms.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32551466/

http://balkanmedicaljournal.org/uploads/pdf/pdf_BMJ_2226.pdf

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Targeting the Endocannabinoid System: A Predictive, Preventive, and Personalized Medicine-Directed Approach to the Management of Brain Pathologies

 SpringerLink“Cannabis-inspired medical products are garnering increasing attention from the scientific community, general public, and health policy makers. A plethora of scientific literature demonstrates intricate engagement of the endocannabinoid system with human immunology, psychology, developmental processes, neuronal plasticity, signal transduction, and metabolic regulation. Despite the therapeutic potential, the adverse psychoactive effects and historical stigma, cannabinoids have limited widespread clinical application. Therefore, it is plausible to weigh carefully the beneficial effects of cannabinoids against the potential adverse impacts for every individual. This is where the concept of “personalized medicine” as a promising approach for disease prediction and prevention may take into the account. The goal of this review is to provide an outline of the endocannabinoid system, including endocannabinoid metabolizing pathways, and will progress to a more in-depth discussion of the therapeutic interventions by endocannabinoids in various neurological disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32549916/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13167-020-00203-4

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