Controlled-Deactivation CB1 Receptor Ligands as a Novel Strategy to Lower Intraocular Pressure.

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“Nearly half a century has passed since the demonstration that cannabis and its chief psychoactive component Δ⁸-THC lowers intraocular pressure (IOP).

Elevated IOP remains the chief hallmark and therapeutic target for glaucoma, a condition that places millions at risk of blindness. It is likely that Δ⁸-THC exerts much of its IOP-lowering effects via the activation of CB1 cannabinoid receptors.

However, the initial promise of CB1 as a target for treating glaucoma has not thus far translated into a credible therapeutic strategy. We have recently shown that blocking monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), an enzyme that breaks the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), substantially lowers IOP.

Another strategy is to develop cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonists that are optimized for topical application to the eye. Recently we have reported on a controlled-deactivation approach where the “soft” drug concept of enzymatic deactivation was combined with a “depot effect” that is commonly observed with Δ⁸-THC and other lipophilic cannabinoids.

This approach allowed us to develop novel cannabinoids with a predictable duration of action and is particularly attractive for the design of CB1 activators for ophthalmic use with limited or no psychoactive effects.

We have tested a novel class of compounds using a combination of electrophysiology in autaptic hippocampal neurons, a well-characterized model of endogenous cannabinoid signaling, and measurements of IOP in a mouse model.

We now report that AM7410 is a reasonably potent and efficacious agonist at CB1 in neurons and that it substantially (30%) lowers IOP for as long as 5 h after a single topical treatment. This effect is absent in CB1 knockout mice.

Our results indicate that the direct targeting of CB1 receptors with controlled-deactivation ligands is a viable approach to lower IOP in a murine model and merits further study in other model systems.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29786643

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/11/2/50

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Modulation of central endocannabinoid system results in gastric mucosal protection in the rat.

Brain Research Bulletin

“Previous findings showed that inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), degrading enzymes of anandamide (2-AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), reduced the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastric lesions.

The present study aimed to investigate: i./whether central or peripheral mechanism play a major role in the gastroprotective effect of inhibitors of FAAH, MAGL and AEA uptake, ii./which peripheral mechanism(s) may play a role in mucosal protective effect of FAAH, MAGL and uptake inhibitors.

Gastric mucosal damage was induced by acidified ethanol.

 

CONCLUSION:

Elevation of central endocannabinoid levels by blocking their degradation or uptake via stimulation of mucosal defensive mechanisms resulted in gastroprotective action against ethanol-induced mucosal injury. These findings might suggest that central endocannabinoid system may play a role in gastric mucosal defense and maintenance of mucosal integrity.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29438780

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0361923017306044

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Neuroprotective Effects of MAGL (Monoacylglycerol Lipase) Inhibitors in Experimental Ischemic Stroke.

American Heart Association Learn and Live

“MAGL (monoacylglycerol lipase) is an enzyme that hydrolyzes the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol and regulates the production of arachidonic acid and prostaglandins-substances that mediate tissue inflammatory response. Here, we have studied the effects of the selective MAGL inhibitors JZL184 and MJN110 and their underlying molecular mechanisms on 3 different experimental models of focal cerebral ischemia.

Pharmacological inhibition of MAGL significantly attenuated infarct volume and hemispheric swelling. MAGL inhibition also ameliorated sensorimotor deficits, suppressed inflammatory response, and decreased the number of degenerating neurons. These beneficial effects of MAGL inhibition were not fully abrogated by selective antagonists of cannabinoid receptors, indicating that the anti-inflammatory effects are caused by inhibition of eicosanoid production rather than by activation of cannabinoid receptors.

Our results suggest that MAGL may contribute to the pathophysiology of focal cerebral ischemia and is thus a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of ischemic stroke.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29440474

http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2018/02/12/STROKEAHA.117.019664

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Targeting the endocannabinoid system as a potential anticancer approach.

Publication Cover

“The endocannabinoid system is currently under intense investigation due to the therapeutic potential of cannabinoid-based drugs as treatment options for a broad variety of diseases including cancer.

Besides the canonical endocannabinoid system that includes the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 and the endocannabinoids N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, recent investigations suggest that other fatty acid derivatives, receptors, enzymes, and lipid transporters likewise orchestrate this system as components of the endocannabinoid system when defined as an extended signaling network.

As such, fatty acids acting at cannabinoid receptors (e.g. 2-arachidonoyl glyceryl ether [noladin ether], N-arachidonoyldopamine) as well as endocannabinoid-like substances that do not elicit cannabinoid receptor activation (e.g. N-palmitoylethanolamine, N-oleoylethanolamine) have raised interest as anticancerogenic substances.

Furthermore, the endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase, lipid transport proteins of the fatty acid binding protein family, additional cannabinoid-activated G protein-coupled receptors, members of the transient receptor potential family as well as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors have been considered as targets of antitumoral cannabinoid activity. Therefore, this review focused on the antitumorigenic effects induced upon modulation of this extended endocannabinoid network.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29390896  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03602532.2018.1428344?journalCode=idmr20

“Anticancer mechanisms of cannabinoids”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791144/
“Cannabinoids as Anticancer Drugs.”
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Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 Receptors, and Monoacylglycerol Lipase Gene Expression Alterations in the Basal Ganglia of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

Neurotherapeutics

“Previous studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the neuropathological basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

This study was designed to detect potential alterations in the cannabinoid receptors CB1 (CB1r) and CB2 (A isoform, CB2Ar), and in monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) gene expression in the substantia nigra (SN) and putamen (PUT) of patients with PD.

The results of the present study suggest that CB1r, CB2r, and MAGL are closely related to the neuropathological processes of PD.

Therefore, the pharmacological modulation of these targets could represent a new potential therapeutic tool for the management of PD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29352424

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13311-018-0603-x

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Inhibition of monoacylglycerol lipase terminates diazepam-resistant status epilepticus in mice and its effects are potentiated by a ketogenic diet.

Epilepsia

“Status epilepticus (SE) is a life-threatening and commonly drug-refractory condition. Novel therapies are needed to rapidly terminate seizures to prevent mortality and morbidity.

Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) is the key enzyme responsible for the hydrolysis of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and a major contributor to the brain pool of arachidonic acid (AA). Inhibiting of monoacylglycerol lipase modulates synaptic activity and neuroinflammation, 2 mediators of excessive neuronal activation underlying seizures.

We studied the effect of a potent and selective irreversible MAGL inhibitor, CPD-4645, on SE that was refractory to diazepam, its neuropathologic sequelae, and the mechanism underlying the drug’s effects.

SIGNIFICANCE:

MAGL represents a novel therapeutic target for treating status epilepticus and improving its sequelae. CPD-4645 therapeutic effects appear to be predominantly mediated by modulation of neuroinflammation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29171003

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epi.13950/abstract?systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+usage+report+download+page+will+be+unavailable+on+Friday+24th+November+2017+at+21%3A00+EST+%2F+02.00+GMT+%2F+10%3A00+SGT+%28Saturday+25th+Nov+for+SGT+

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Maternal high-fat diet induces sex-specific endocannabinoid system changes in newborn rats and programs adiposity, energy expenditure and food preference in adulthood.

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

“Early life inadequate nutrition triggers developmental adaptations and adult chronic disease.

Maternal high-fat (HF) diet promotes visceral obesity and hypothalamic leptin resistance in male rat offspring at weaning and adulthood.

Obesity is related to over active endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists mainly of endogenous ligands, cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and the enzymes fatty acid anandamide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).

We hypothesized that perinatal maternal HF diet would regulate offspring ECS in hypothalamus and brown adipose tissue (BAT) at birth, prior to visceral obesity development, and program food preference and energy expenditure of adult offspring.

In conclusion, maternal HF diet alters ECS components and energy metabolism targets in hypothalamus and BAT of offspring at birth, in a sex-specific manner, which may contribute for hyperphagia, food preference and higher adiposity later in life.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29102876

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286317303042?via%3Dihub

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Monoacylglycerol lipase inhibitor JZL184 prevents HIV-1 gp120-induced synapse loss by altering endocannabinoid signaling.

Neuropharmacology

“Monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) hydrolyzes 2-arachidonoylglycerol to arachidonic acid and glycerol. Inhibition of MGL may attenuate neuroinflammation by enhancing endocannabinoid signaling and decreasing prostaglandin (PG) production. Almost half of HIV infected individuals are afflicted with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND), a neuroinflammatory disease in which cognitive decline correlates with synapse loss. HIV infected cells shed the envelope protein gp120 which is a potent neurotoxin that induces synapse loss. Here, we tested whether inhibition of MGL, using the selective inhibitor JZL184, would prevent synapse loss induced by gp120. The number of synapses between rat hippocampal neurons in culture was quantified by imaging clusters of a GFP-tagged antibody-like protein that selectively binds to the postsynaptic scaffolding protein, PSD95. JZL184 completely blocked gp120-induced synapse loss. Inhibition of MGL decreased gp120-induced interleukin-1β (IL-1β) production and subsequent potentiation of NMDA receptor-mediated calcium influx. JZL184-mediated protection of synapses was reversed by a selective cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2R) inverse agonist/antagonist. JZL184 also reduced gp120-induced prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production; PG signaling was required for gp120-induced IL-1β expression and synapse loss. Inhibition of MGL prevented gp120-induced synapse loss by activating CB2R resulting in decreased production of the inflammatory cytokine IL-1β. Because PG signaling was required for gp120-induced synapse loss, JZL184-induced decreases in PGE2 levels may also protect synapses. MGL presents a promising target for preventing synapse loss in neuroinflammatory conditions such as HAND.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29061509

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390817304902?via%3Dihub

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Cannabinoid CB1 Discrimination: Effects of Endocannabinoids and Catabolic Enzyme Inhibitors.

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

“An improved understanding of the endocannabinoid system has provided new avenues of drug discovery and development toward the management of pain and other behavioral maladies. Exogenous cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptor agonists such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are increasingly utilized for their medicinal actions; however, their utility is constrained by concern regarding abuse-related subjective effects. This has led to growing interest in the clinical benefit of indirectly enhancing the activity of the highly labile endocannabinoids N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide; AEA) and/or 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) via catabolic enzyme inhibition. The present studies were conducted to determine whether such actions can lead to CB1 agonist-like subjective effects, as reflected in the presence or absence of CB1-related discriminative-stimulus effects in laboratory subjects. Squirrel monkeys (n=8) that discriminated the CB1 full agonist AM4054 (0.01 mg/kg) from vehicle were used to study, first, inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) or monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) alone or in combination [FAAH (URB597, AM4303); MGL (AM4301); FAAH/MGL (AM4302)] and, second, the ability of the endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG to produce CB1 agonist-like effects when administered alone or after enzyme inhibition. Results indicate that CB1-related discriminative-stimulus effects were produced by combined, but not selective, inhibition of FAAH and MGL, and that these effects were non-surmountably antagonized by low doses of rimonabant. Additionally, FAAH- or MGL-inhibition revealed CB1-like subjective effects produced by AEA, but not 2-AG. Taken together, the present data suggest that therapeutic effects of combined, but not selective, enhancement of AEA or 2-AG activity via enzyme inhibition may be accompanied by CB1 receptor-mediated subjective effects.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28947487

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/early/2017/09/25/jpet.117.244392

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Effects of Centrally Administered Endocannabinoids and Opioids on Orofacial Pain Perception in Rats.

British Journal of Pharmacology

“Endocannabinoids and opioids play a vital role in mediating pain-induced analgesia.

The specific effects of these compounds within orofacial region are largely unknown. In this study we tried to determine whether the increase of cannabinoid and opioid concentration in cerebrospinal fluid affects impulse transmission between the motor centers localized in the vicinity of the third and fourth cerebral ventricles.

We demonstrated that in the orofacial area analgesic activity is modulated by AEA and that EM-2-induced antinociception was mediated by MOR and CB1 receptors. The action of AEA and EM-2 is tightly regulated by FAAH and FAAH/MAGL, by preventing the breakdown of endogenous cannabinoids in regions where they are produced on demand.

Therefore, the current findings support the therapeutic potential of FAAH and FAAH/MAGL inhibitors as novel pharmacotherapeutic agents for orofacial pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28771697

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.13970/abstract

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