GPR55 signalling promotes proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells and tumour growth in mice, and its inhibition increases effects of gemcitabine

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“The life expectancy for pancreatic cancer patients has seen no substantial changes in the last 40 years as very few and mostly just palliative treatments are available. As the five years survival rate remains around 5%, the identification of novel pharmacological targets and development of new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed.

Here we demonstrate that inhibition of the G protein-coupled receptor GPR55, using genetic and pharmacological approaches, reduces pancreatic cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo and we propose that this may represent a novel strategy to inhibit pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) progression.

Specifically, we show that genetic ablation of Gpr55 in the KRASWT/G12D/TP53WT/R172H/Pdx1-Cre+/+ (KPC) mouse model of PDAC significantly prolonged survival.

Importantly, KPC mice treated with a combination of the GPR55 antagonist Cannabidiol (CBD) and gemcitabine (GEM, one of the most used drugs to treat PDAC), survived nearly three times longer compared to mice treated with vehicle or GEM alone.

Mechanistically, knockdown or pharmacologic inhibition of GPR55 reduced anchorage-dependent and independent growth, cell cycle progression, activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling and protein levels of ribonucleotide reductases in PDAC cells. Consistent with this, genetic ablation of Gpr55 reduced proliferation of tumour cells, MAPK signalling and ribonucleotide reductase M1 levels in KPC mice.

Combination of CBD and GEM inhibited tumour cell proliferation in KPC mice and it opposed mechanisms involved in development of resistance to GEM in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we demonstrate that the tumour suppressor p53 regulates GPR55 protein expression through modulation of the microRNA miR34b-3p.

Our results demonstrate the important role played by GPR55 downstream of p53 in PDAC progression. Moreover our data indicate that combination of CBD and GEM, both currently approved for medical use, might be tested in clinical trials as a novel promising treatment to improve PDAC patients’ outcome.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41388-018-0390-1

“Cannabinoid improves survival rates of mice with pancreatic cancer”  https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-07-cannabinoid-survival-mice-pancreatic-cancer.html

“Study: CBD From Marijuana Plus Chemotherapy Tripled Cancer Survival Rates In Mice” https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/07/31/study-cbd-from-marijuana-plus-chemotherapy-triples-cancer-survival-rates-in-mice/#491942d44630

“Cannabis drug may help pancreatic-cancer patients live almost THREE TIMES longer, study finds” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6007275/Cannabis-drug-help-pancreatic-cancer-patients-live-THREE-TIMES-longer-study-finds.html

“Substance in cannabis ‘could boost pancreatic cancer treatments’. Scientists say cannabidiol could extend patients’ lives by a matter of years”  https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/30/substance-in-cannabis-could-boost-pancreatic-cancer-treatments

“Cannabinoid mice trial holds hope for pancreatic cancer patients”  https://www.smh.com.au/national/cannabinoid-mice-trial-holds-hope-for-pancreatic-cancer-patients-20180731-p4zuls.html

“Medical cannabis extract could help pancreatic cancer patients live longer, early study suggests” https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/pancreatic-cancer-medical-cannabis-cbd-oil-cannabidiol-chemotherapy-a8470406.html

“Cancer ‘remarkable’ treatment – cannabis CBD could improve survival rate by THREE times. CANCER symptoms could be prevented with a “remarkable” new treatment, which includes cannabis CBD, scientists have revealed. Pancreatic cancer survival rates could be improved by three times, by adding CBD into chemotherapy treatments, they said.” https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/996657/cancer-treatment-pancreatic-symptoms-cannabis-cbd

“Compound in cannabis could help pancreatic cancer patients live significantly longer” https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/310718/compound-in-cannabis-could-help-pancreatic-cancer-patients-live-signif.html

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Chronic treatment with the phytocannabinoid Cannabidivarin (CBDV) rescues behavioural alterations and brain atrophy in a mouse model of Rett syndrome.

Neuropharmacology

“Rett syndrome (RTT) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by severe behavioural and physiological symptoms. RTT is caused by mutations in the MECP2 gene in about 95% of cases and to date no cure is available.

The endocannabinoid system modulates several physiological processes and behavioural responses that are impaired in RTT and its deregulation has been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders which have symptoms in common with RTT.

The present study evaluated the potential therapeutic efficacy for RTT of cannabidivarin (CBDV), a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid from Cannabis sativa that presents antagonistic properties on the G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), the most recently identified cannabinoid receptor.

Present results demonstrate that systemic treatment with CBDV (2, 20, 100 mg/Kg ip for 14 days) rescues behavioural and brain alterations in MeCP2-308 male mice, a validated RTT model. The CBDV treatment restored the compromised general health status, the sociability and the brain weight in RTT mice. A partial restoration of motor coordination was also observed. Moreover, increased levels of GPR55 were found in RTT mouse hippocampus, suggesting this G protein-coupled receptor as new potential target for the treatment of this disorder.

Present findings highlight for the first time for RTT the translational relevance of CBDV, an innovative therapeutic agent that is under active investigation in the clinical setting.”

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Activation of GPR55 increases neural stem cell proliferation and promotes early adult hippocampal neurogenesis

British Journal of Pharmacology banner

“The cannabinoid system exerts functional regulation of neural stem cell (NSC) proliferation and adult neurogenesis, yet not all effects of cannabinoid-like compounds seen can be attributed to the cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1 R) or cannabinoid 2 receptor (CB2 R).

The recently de-orphaned GPR55 has been shown to be activated by numerous cannabinoid ligands suggesting that GPR55 is a third cannabinoid receptor.

Here we examined the role of GPR55 activation in NSC proliferation and early adult neurogenesis.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Together, these findings suggest GPR55 activation as a novel target and strategy to regulate NSC proliferation and adult neurogenesis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29888782

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bph.14387

“The orphan receptor GPR55 is a novel cannabinoid receptor”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2095107/

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Localization of cannabinoid receptors CB1, CB2, GPR55, and PPARα in the canine gastrointestinal tract.

Histochemistry and Cell Biology

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of cannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands, and the enzymes involved in endocannabinoid turnover.

Modulating the activity of the ECS may influence a variety of physiological and pathophysiological processes.

A growing body of evidence indicates that activation of cannabinoid receptors by endogenous, plant-derived, or synthetic cannabinoids may exert beneficial effects on gastrointestinal inflammation and visceral pain.

The present ex vivo study aimed to investigate immunohistochemically the distribution of cannabinoid receptors CB1, CB2, G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), and peroxisome proliferation activation receptor alpha (PPARα) in the canine gastrointestinal tract.

Cannabinoid receptors showed a wide distribution in the gastrointestinal tract of the dog.

Since cannabinoid receptors have a protective role in inflammatory bowel disease, the present research provides an anatomical basis supporting the therapeutic use of cannabinoid receptor agonists in relieving motility disorders and visceral hypersensitivity in canine acute or chronic enteropathies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29882158

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00418-018-1684-7

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LH-21 and Abn-CBD improve β-cell function in isolated human and mouse islets through GPR55-dependent and -independent signalling.

Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism

“CB1 and GPR55 are GPCRs expressed by islet β-cells. Pharmacological compounds have been used to investigate their function, but off-target effects of ligands have been reported.

This study examined the effects of Abn-CBD (GPR55 agonist) and LH-21 (CB1 antagonist) on human and mouse islet function, and islets from GPR55-/- mice were used to determine signalling via GPR55.

RESULTS:

Abn-CBD potentiated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and elevated [Ca2+ ]i in human islets and islets from both GPR55+/+ and GPR55-/- mice. LH-21 also increased insulin secretion and [Ca2+ ]i in human islets and GPR55+/+ mouse islets, but concentrations of LH-21 up to 0.1 μM were ineffective in islets from GPR55-/- mice. Neither ligand affected basal insulin secretion or islet cAMP levels. Abn-CBD and LH-21 reduced cytokine-induced apoptosis in human islets and GPR55+/+ mouse islets, and these effects were suppressed following GPR55 deletion. They also increased β-cell proliferation: the effects of Abn-CBD were preserved in islets from GPR55-/- mice, while those of LH-21 were abolished. Abn-CBD and LH-21 increased AKT phosphorylation in mouse and human islets.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study demonstrated that Abn-CBD and LH-21 improve human and mouse islet β-cell function and viability. Use of islets from GPR55-/- mice suggests that designation of Abn-CBD and LH-21 as GPR55 agonist and CB1 antagonist, should be revised.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29205751

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dom.13180/abstract

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Review: The Role of Cannabinoids on Esophageal Function-What We Know Thus Far.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) primarily consists of cannabinoid receptors (CBRs), endogenous ligands, and enzymes for endocannabinoid biosynthesis and inactivation. Although the presence of CBRs, both CB1 and CB2, as well as a third receptor (G-protein receptor 55 [GPR55]), has been established in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, few studies have focused on the role of cannabinoids on esophageal function. To date, studies have shown their effect on GI motility, inflammation and immunity, intestinal and gastric acid secretion, nociception and emesis pathways, and appetite control. Given the varying and sometimes limited efficacy of current medical therapies for diseases of the esophagus, further understanding and investigation into the interplay of the ECS on esophageal health and disease may present new therapeutic modalities that may help advance current treatment options. In this brief review, the current understanding of the ECS role in various esophageal functions and disorders is presented.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29098187

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2017.0031

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Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Colon Models Is Derived from Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid That Interacts with Additional Compounds in Cannabis Extracts.

“Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) include Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Cannabis sativa preparations have beneficial effects for IBD patients. However, C. sativa extracts contain hundreds of compounds. Although there is much knowledge of the activity of different cannabinoids and their receptor agonists or antagonists, the cytotoxic and anti-inflammatory activity of whole C. sativa extracts has never been characterized in detail with in vitro and ex vivo colon models.

Material and Methods: The anti-inflammatory activity of C. sativa extracts was studied on three lines of epithelial cells and on colon tissue. C. sativa flowers were extracted with ethanol, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to determine the level of interleukin-8 in colon cells and tissue biopsies, chemical analysis was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance and gene expression was determined by quantitative real-time PCR.

Results: The anti-inflammatory activity of Cannabis extracts derives from D9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) present in fraction 7 (F7) of the extract. However, all fractions of C. sativa at a certain combination of concentrations have a significant increased cytotoxic activity. GPR55 receptor antagonist significantly reduces the anti-inflammatory activity of F7, whereas cannabinoid type 2 receptor antagonist significantly increases HCT116 cell proliferation. Also, cannabidiol (CBD) shows dose dependent cytotoxic activity, whereas anti-inflammatory activity was found only for the low concentration of CBD, and in a bell-shaped rather than dose-dependent manner. Activity of the extract and active fraction was verified on colon tissues taken from IBD patients, and was shown to suppress cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9) gene expression in both cell culture and colon tissue.

Conclusions: It is suggested that the anti-inflammatory activity of Cannabis extracts on colon epithelial cells derives from a fraction of the extract that contains THCA, and is mediated, at least partially, via GPR55 receptor. The cytotoxic activity of the C. sativa extract was increased by combining all fractions at a certain combination of concentrations and was partially affected by CB2 receptor antagonist that increased cell proliferation. It is suggested that in a nonpsychoactive treatment for IBD, THCA should be used rather than CBD.”

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Cannabidiol attenuates seizures and social deficits in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome.

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“Worldwide medicinal use of cannabis is rapidly escalating, despite limited evidence of its efficacy from preclinical and clinical studies. Here we show that cannabidiol (CBD) effectively reduced seizures and autistic-like social deficits in a well-validated mouse genetic model of Dravet syndrome (DS), a severe childhood epilepsy disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the brain voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.1.

The duration and severity of thermally induced seizures and the frequency of spontaneous seizures were substantially decreased. Treatment with lower doses of CBD also improved autistic-like social interaction deficits in DS mice.

Phenotypic rescue was associated with restoration of the excitability of inhibitory interneurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus, an important area for seizure propagation. Reduced excitability of dentate granule neurons in response to strong depolarizing stimuli was also observed.

The beneficial effects of CBD on inhibitory neurotransmission were mimicked and occluded by an antagonist of GPR55, suggesting that therapeutic effects of CBD are mediated through this lipid-activated G protein-coupled receptor.

Our results provide critical preclinical evidence supporting treatment of epilepsy and autistic-like behaviors linked to DS with CBD. We also introduce antagonism of GPR55 as a potential therapeutic approach by illustrating its beneficial effects in DS mice.

Our study provides essential preclinical evidence needed to build a sound scientific basis for increased medicinal use of CBD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28973916

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/09/26/1711351114

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G protein-coupled receptor GPR55 promotes colorectal cancer and has opposing effects to cannabinoid receptor 1.

International Journal of Cancer

“The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 has been shown to play a tumor-promoting role in various cancers, and is involved in many physiological and pathological processes of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

While the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1 ) has been reported to suppress intestinal tumor growth, the role of GPR55 in the development of GI cancers is unclear. We, therefore, aimed at elucidating the role of GPR55 in colorectal cancer (CRC), the third most common cancer worldwide.

Collectively, our data suggest that GPR55 and CB1 play differential roles in colon carcinogenesis where the former seems to act as oncogene and the latter as tumor suppressor.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28875496

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.31030/abstract

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GPR55 – a putative “type 3” cannabinoid receptor in inflammation.

“G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) shares numerous cannabinoid ligands with CB1 and CB2 receptors despite low homology with those classical cannabinoid receptors. The pharmacology of GPR55 is not yet fully elucidated; however, GPR55 utilizes a different signaling system and downstream cascade associated with the receptor. Therefore, GPR55 has emerged as a putative “type 3” cannabinoid receptor, establishing a novel class of cannabinoid receptor. Furthermore, the recent evidence of GPR55-CB1 and GPR55-CB2 heteromerization along with its broad distribution from central nervous system to peripheries suggests the importance of GPR55 in various cellular processes and pathologies and as a potential therapeutic target in inflammation.”

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