Endocannabinod Signal Dysregulation in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Correlation Link between Inflammatory State and Neuro-Immune Alterations.

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“Several studies highlight a key involvement of endocannabinoid (EC) system in autism pathophysiology. The EC system is a complex network of lipid signaling pathways comprised of arachidonic acid-derived compounds (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), their G-protein-coupled receptors (cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2) and the associated enzymes. In addition to autism, the EC system is also involved in several other psychiatric disorders (i.e., anxiety, major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). This system is a key regulator of metabolic and cellular pathways involved in autism, such as food intake, energy metabolism and immune system control. Early studies in autism animal models have demonstrated alterations in the brain’s EC system. Autism is also characterized by immune system dysregulation. This alteration includes differential monocyte and macrophage responses, and abnormal cytokine and T cell levels. EC system dysfunction in a monocyte and macrophagic cellular model of autism has been demonstrated by showing that the mRNA and protein for CB2 receptor and EC enzymes were significantly dysregulated, further indicating the involvement of the EC system in autism-associated immunological disruptions. Taken together, these new findings offer a novel perspective in autism research and indicate that the EC system could represent a novel target option for autism pharmacotherapy.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28671614

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Circulating Endocannabinoids: From Whence Do They Come and Where are They Going?

Related image“The goal of this review is to summarize studies in which concentrations of circulating endocannabinoids in humans have been examined in relationship to physiological measurements and pathological status. The roles of endocannabinoids in the regulation of energy intake and storage have been well studied and the data obtained consistently support the hypothesis that endocannabinoid signaling is associated with increased consumption and storage of energy. Physical exercise mobilizes endocannabinoids, which could contribute to refilling of energy stores and also to the analgesic and mood-elevating effects of exercise. Circulating concentrations of 2-arachidonoylglycerol are very significantly circadian and dysregulated when sleep is disrupted. Other conditions under which circulating endocannabinoids are altered include inflammation and pain. A second important role for endocannabinoid signaling is to restore homeostasis following stress. Circulating endocannabinoids are stress-responsive and there is evidence that their concentrations are altered in disorders associated with excessive stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Although determination of circulating endocannabinoids can provide important information about the state of endocannabinoid signaling and thus allow for hypotheses to be defined and tested, the large number of physiological factors that contribute to their circulating concentrations makes it difficult to use them in isolation as a biomarker for a specific disorder.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28653665

https://www.nature.com/npp/journal/vaop/naam/abs/npp2017130a.html

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Endocannabinoid System in Neurodegenerative Disorders.

Journal of Neurochemistry

“Most neurodegenerative disorders (NDDs) are characterized by cognitive impairment and other neurological defects. The definite cause of and pathways underlying the progression of these NDDs are not well defined. Several mechanisms have been proposed to contribute to the development of NDDs. These mechanisms may proceed concurrently or successively, and they differ among cell types at different developmental stages in distinct brain regions. The endocannabinoid system, which involves cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1R) and type 2 (CB2R), endogenous cannabinoids and the enzymes that catabolize these compounds, has been shown to contribute to the development of NDDs in several animal models and human studies. In this review, we discuss the functions of the endocannabinoid (EC) system in NDDs and converse the therapeutic efficacy of targeting the endocannabinoid system to rescue NDDs.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28608560

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jnc.14098/abstract

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Analysis of Natural Product Regulation of Cannabinoid Receptors in the treatment of Human Disease.

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“The organized tightly regulated signaling relays engaged by the cannabinoid receptors (CBs) and their ligands, G proteins and other effectors, together constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system governs many biological functions including cell proliferation, regulation of ion transport and neuronal messaging. This review will firstly examine the physiology of the ECS, briefly discussing some anomalies in the relay of the ECS signaling as these are consequently linked to maladies of global concern including neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

While endogenous ligands are crucial for dispatching messages through the ECS, there are also commonalities in binding affinities with copious exogenous ligands, both natural and synthetic. Therefore, this review provides a comparative analysis of both types of exogenous ligands with emphasis on natural products given their putative safer efficacy and the role of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) in uncovering the ECS.

Efficacy is congruent to both types of compounds but noteworthy is the effect of a combination therapy to achieve efficacy without the unideal side-effects. An example is Sativex that displayed promise in treating Huntington’s disease (HD) in preclinical models allowing for its transition to current clinical investigation. Despite the in vitro and preclinical efficacy of Δ9-THC to treat neurodegenerative ailments, its psychotropic effects limit its clinical applicability to treating feeding disorders.

We therefore propose further investigation of other compounds and their combinations such as the triterpene, α,β-amyrin that exhibited greater binding affinity to CB1 than CB2 and was more potent than Δ9-THC and the N-alkylamides that exhibited CB2 selective affinity, the latter can be explored towards peripherally exclusive ECS modulation. The synthetic CB1 antagonist, Rimonabant was pulled from market for the treatment of diabetes, however its analogue SR144528 maybe an ideal lead molecule towards this end and HU-210 and Org27569 are also promising synthetic small molecules.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28583800

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163725817301511

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GPR3 and GPR6, novel molecular targets for cannabidiol.

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“GPR3 and GPR6 are members of a family of constitutively active, Gs protein-coupled receptors. Previously, it has been reported that GPR3 is involved in Alzheimer’s disease whereas GPR6 plays potential roles in Parkinson’s disease.

GPR3 and GPR6 are considered orphan receptors because there are no confirmed endogenous agonists for them. However, GPR3 and GPR6 are phylogenetically related to the cannabinoid receptors.

In this study, the activities of endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids were tested on GPR3 and GPR6 using a β-arrestin2 recruitment assay. Among the variety of cannabinoids tested, cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychoactive component of marijuana, significantly reduced β-arrestin2 recruitment to both GPR3 and GPR6. In addition, the inhibitory effects of CBD on β-arrestin2 recruitment were concentration-dependent for both GPR3 and GPR6, with a higher potency for GPR6.

These data show that CBD acts as an inverse agonist at both GPR3 and GPR6 receptors. These results demonstrate for the first time that both GPR3 and GPR6 are novel molecular targets for CBD.

Our discovery that CBD acts as a novel inverse agonist on both GPR3 and GPR6 indicates that some of the potential therapeutic effects of CBD (e.g. treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease) may be mediated through these important receptors.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28571738

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X17310744

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A chronic low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) restores cognitive function in old mice

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“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.”

https://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.4311.html

“CAN MARIJUANA RESTORE MEMORY? NEW STUDY SHOWS CANNABIS CAN REVERSE COGNITIVE DECLINE IN MICE” http://www.newsweek.com/cannabis-marijuana-restores-memory-learning-cognitive-decline-596160

“A little cannabis every day might keep brain ageing at bay” https://www.newscientist.com/article/2130257-a-little-cannabis-every-day-might-keep-brain-ageing-at-bay/

“Low-dose cannabinoid THC restores memory and learning in old mice”  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317342.php

“Daily Dose Of Cannabis May Protect And Heal The Brain From Effects Of Aging”  https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2017/05/08/daily-dose-of-cannabis-may-protect-and-heal-the-brain-from-effects-of-aging/#70ef658f2e44

“Cannabis reverses aging processes in the brain”  https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-05-cannabis-reverses-aging-brain.html

“Future dementia cure – Chemical in cannabis could REVERSE the ageing process” http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/801827/dementia-cure-cannabis-THC-chemical-memory

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GPR55 and the regulation of glucose homeostasis.

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“Pathophysiological conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are reportedly associated to over-activation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Therefore, modulation of the ECS offers potential therapeutic benefits on those diseases. GPR55, the receptor for L-α-lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) that has also affinity for various cannabinoid ligands, is distributed at the central and peripheral level and it is involved in several physiological processes. This review summarizes the localization and role of GPR55 in tissues that are crucial for the regulation of glucose metabolism, and provides an update on its contribution in obesity and insulin resistance. The therapeutic potential of targeting the GPR55 receptor is also discussed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28457969

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Cannabinoids as Modulators of Cell Death: Clinical Applications and Future Directions.

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“Endocannabinoids are bioactive lipids that modulate various physiological processes through G-protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2) and other putative targets. By sharing the activation of the same receptors, some phytocannabinoids and a multitude of synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of endocannabinoids.

In recent years, a growing interest has been dedicated to the study of cannabinoids properties for their analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. In addition to these well-recognized effects, various studies suggest that cannabinoids may affect cell survival, cell proliferation or cell death. These observations indicate that cannabinoids may play an important role in the regulation of cellular homeostasis and, thus, may contribute to tissue remodelling and cancer treatment.

For a long time, the study of cannabinoid receptor signalling has been focused on the classical adenylyl cyclase/cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. However, this pathway does not totally explain the wide array of biological responses to cannabinoids. In addition, the diversity of receptors and signalling pathways that endocannabinoids modulate offers an interesting opportunity for the development of specific molecules to disturb selectively the endogenous system.

Moreover, emerging evidences suggest that cannabinoids ability to limit cell proliferation and to induce tumour-selective cell death may offer a novel strategy in cancer treatment.

This review describes the main properties of cannabinoids in cell death and attempts to clarify the different pathways triggered by these compounds that may help to understand the complexity of respective molecular mechanisms and explore the potential clinical benefit of cannabinoids use in cancer therapies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28425013

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Antihyperalgesic Activities of Endocannabinoids in a Mouse Model of Antiretroviral-Induced Neuropathic Pain.

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“Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) are the cornerstone of the antiretroviral therapy for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). However, their use is sometimes limited by the development of a painful sensory neuropathy, which does not respond well to drugs.

Smoked cannabis has been reported in clinical trials to have efficacy in relieving painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy.

The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the expression of endocannabinoid system molecules is altered during NRTI-induced painful neuropathy, and also whether endocannabinoids can attenuate NRTI-induced painful neuropathy.

Conclusion: These data show that ddC induces thermal hyperalgesia, which is associated with dysregulation of the mRNA expression of some endocannabinoid system molecules. The endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG have antihyperalgesic activity, which is dependent on cannabinoid receptor and GPR55 activation. Thus, agonists of cannabinoid receptors and GPR55 could be useful therapeutic agents for the management of NRTI-induced painful sensory neuropathy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28373843

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Binding Site Characterization of AM1336, a Novel Covalent Inverse Agonist at Human Cannabinoid 2 Receptor, Using Mass Spectrometric Analysis.

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“Cannabinoid 2 receptor (CB2R), a Class A G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), is a promising drug target in a wide array of pathological conditions. Rational drug design has been hindered due to our poor understanding of the structural features involved in ligand binding. Binding of a high-affinity biarylpyrazole inverse agonist AM1336 to a library of the human CB2 receptor (hCB2R) cysteine-substituted mutants provided indirect evidence that two cysteines in transmembrane helix-7 (H7) were critical for the covalent attachment. Here, we used proteomics analysis of the hCB2R with bound AM1336 to directly identify peptides with covalently attached ligand and applied in-silico modeling for visualization of the ligand-receptor interactions. The hCB2R, with affinity tags (FlaghCB2His6), was produced in a baculovirus-insect cell expression system and purified as a functional receptor using immunoaffinity chromatography. Using mass spectrometry-based bottom-up proteomic analysis of the hCB2R-AM1336 we identified a peptide with AM1336 attached to the cysteine C284(7.38) in H7. The hCB2R homology model in lipid bilayer accommodated covalent attachment of AM1336 to C284(7.38), supporting both biochemical and mass spectrometric data. This work consolidates proteomics data and in-silico modeling, and integrates with our ligand-assisted protein structure (LAPS) experimental paradigm to assist in structure-based design of cannabinoid antagonist/inverse agonists.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28374590

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