Endocannabinoids and the control of energy homeostasis.
ABSTRACT: Endocannabinoids (ECBs) are ubiquitous lipid mediators that act through the same G protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2) that recognize plant-derived cannabinoids. As regulators of metabolism, ECBs are anabolic: they increase the intake, promote the storage, and decrease the expenditure of energy. Recent work indicates that activation of peripheral CB1 receptors by ECBs plays a key role in the hormonal/metabolic changes associated with obesity/metabolic syndrome and may be targeted for its pharmacotherapy.
Project description:There are two well characterized cannabinoid receptors (CBRs), CB1-Rs and CB2-Rs, with other candidates, such as GPR55, PPARs and vanilloid TRPV1 (VR1) receptors, which are either activated by cannabinoids and/or endocannabinoids (eCBs). The neuronal and functional expression of CB2-Rs in the brain has been much less well characterized in comparison with the expression of the ubiquitous CB1-Rs. CB2-Rs were previously thought to be predominantly expressed in immune cells in the periphery and were traditionally referred to as peripheral CB2-Rs. We and others have now demonstrated the expression of CB2-Rs in neuronal, glial and endothelial cells in the brain, and this warrants a re-evaluation of the CNS effects of CB2-Rs. In the present review we summarize our current understanding of CNR2 genomic structure, its polymorphic nature, subtype specificity, from mice to human subjects, and its variants that confer vulnerabilities to neuropsychiatric disorders beyond neuro-immuno-cannabinoid activity.
Project description:Cannabinoid (CB1) receptor activation acts neuronally, reducing GI motility, diarrhoea, pain, transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs) and emesis, and promoting eating. CB2 receptor activation acts mostly via immune cells to reduce inflammation. What are the key questions which now need answering to further understand endocannabinoid pathophysiology? GPR55. Does this receptor have a GI role? Satiety, Nausea, Vomiting, Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux, Gastric Emptying. Endocannabinoids acting at CB1 receptors can increase food intake and body weight, exert anti-emetic activity, reduce gastric acid secretion and TLESRs; CB2 receptors may have a small role in emesis. Question 1: CB1 receptor activation reduces emesis and gastric emptying but the latter is associated with nausea. How is the paradox explained? Q2: Do non-CB receptor actions of endocannabinoids (for example TRPV1) also modulate emesis? Q3: Is pathology necessary (gastritis, gastro-oesophageal reflux) to observe CB2 receptor function? Intestinal Transit and Secretion. Reduced by endocannabinoids at CB1 receptors, but not by CB2 receptor agonists. Q1: Do the effects of endocannabinoids rapidly diminish with repeat-dosing? Q2: Do CB2 receptors need to be pathologically upregulated before they are active? Inflammation. CB1, CB2 and TRPV1 receptors may mediate an ability of endocannabinoids to reduce GI inflammation or its consequences. Q1: Are CB2 receptors upregulated by inflammatory or other pathology? Pain. Colonic bacterial flora may upregulate CB2 receptor expression and thereby increase intestinal sensitivity to noxious stimuli. Q1: Are CB2 receptors the interface between colonic bacteria and enteric- or extrinsic nerve sensitivity? Relevance of endocannabinoids to humans. Perhaps apart from appetite, this is largely unknown.
Project description:The endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) system regulates a diverse array of physiological processes and unsurprisingly possesses considerable potential targets for the potential treatment of numerous disease states, including two receptors (i.e., CB1 and CB2 receptors) and enzymes regulating their endogenous ligands N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) and 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG). Increases in brain levels of endocannabinoids to pathogenic events suggest this system plays a role in compensatory repair mechanisms. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) pathology remains mostly refractory to currently available drugs, perhaps due to its heterogeneous nature in etiology, clinical presentation, and severity. Here, we review pre-clinical studies assessing the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and manipulations of the endocannabinoid system to ameliorate TBI pathology. Specifically, manipulations of endocannabinoid degradative enzymes (e.g., fatty acid amide hydrolase, monoacylglycerol lipase, and ?/?-hydrolase domain-6), CB1 and CB2 receptors, and their endogenous ligands have shown promise in modulating cellular and molecular hallmarks of TBI pathology such as; cell death, excitotoxicity, neuroinflammation, cerebrovascular breakdown, and cell structure and remodeling. TBI-induced behavioral deficits, such as learning and memory, neurological motor impairments, post-traumatic convulsions or seizures, and anxiety also respond to manipulations of the endocannabinoid system. As such, the endocannabinoid system possesses potential drugable receptor and enzyme targets for the treatment of diverse TBI pathology. Yet, full characterization of TBI-induced changes in endocannabinoid ligands, enzymes, and receptor populations will be important to understand that role this system plays in TBI pathology. Promising classes of compounds, such as the plant-derived phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and endocannabinoids, as well as their non-cannabinoid receptor targets, such as TRPV1 receptors, represent important areas of basic research and potential therapeutic interest to treat TBI.
Project description:Pharmacologically elevating brain endocannabinoids (eCBs) share anxiolytic and fear extinction-facilitating properties with classical therapeutics, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine. There are also known functional interactions between the eCB and serotonin systems and preliminary evidence that antidepressants cause alterations in brain eCBs. However, the potential role of eCBs in mediating the facilitatory effects of fluoxetine on fear extinction has not been established. Here, to test for a possible mechanistic contribution of eCBs to fluoxetine's proextinction effects, we integrated biochemical, electrophysiological, pharmacological, and behavioral techniques, using the extinction-impaired 129S1/Sv1mJ mouse strain. Chronic fluoxetine treatment produced a significant and selective increase in levels of anandamide in the BLA, and an associated decrease in activity of the anandamide-catabolizing enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase. Slice electrophysiological recordings showed that fluoxetine-induced increases in anandamide were associated with the amplification of eCB-mediated tonic constraint of inhibitory, but not excitatory, transmission in the BLA. Behaviorally, chronic fluoxetine facilitated extinction retrieval in a manner that was prevented by systemic or BLA-specific blockade of CB1 receptors. In contrast to fluoxetine, citalopram treatment did not increase BLA eCBs or facilitate extinction. Taken together, these findings reveal a novel, obligatory role for amygdala eCBs in the proextinction effects of a major pharmacotherapy for trauma- and stressor-related disorders and anxiety disorders.
Project description:Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors are located at key sites involved in the relaying and processing of noxious inputs. Both CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists have analgesic effects in a range of models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Importantly, clinical trials of cannabis-based medicines indicate that the pre-clinical effects of cannabinoid agonists may translate into therapeutic potential in humans. One of the areas of concern with this pharmacological approach is that CB1 receptors have a widespread distribution in the brain and that global activation of CB1 receptors is associated with adverse side effects. Studies of the endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) have demonstrated that they are present in most tissues and that in some pain states, such as neuropathic pain, levels of endocannabinoids are elevated at key sites involved in pain processing. An alternative approach that can be used to harness the potential therapeutic effects of cannabinoids is to maximise the effects of the endocannabinoids, the actions of which are terminated by re-uptake and metabolism by various enzymes, including fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) and cyclooxygenase type 2 (COX2). Preventing the metabolism, or uptake, of endocannabinoids elevates levels of these lipid compounds in tissue and produces behavioural analgesia in models of acute pain. Herein we review recent studies of the effects of inhibition of metabolism of endocannabinoids versus uptake of endocannabinoids on nociceptive processing in models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
Project description:The endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachydonoylglycerol (2-AG) are lipids naturally derived from membrane precursors which bind cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2). This endocannabinoid system is disturbed in schizophrenia. Indeed, there seems to be an association between schizophrenia and polymorphisms of the CB1 receptor gene. Moreover, CB1 receptors are found in higher density in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and basal ganglia of patients with schizophrenia. Similarly, anandamide levels are increased in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and in the serum of schizophrenia patients, including during the prodromal state, suggesting that they may play a protective role in psychosis homeostasis. Future studies are needed to further explore the role of the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
Project description:Ischaemia-reperfusion (I/R) is a pivotal mechanism of organ injury during stroke, myocardial infarction, organ transplantation and vascular surgeries. Ischaemic preconditioning (IPC) is a potent endogenous form of tissue protection against I/R injury. On the one hand, endocannabinoids have been implicated in the protective effects of IPC through cannabinoid CB1/CB2 receptor-dependent and -independent mechanisms. However, there is evidence suggesting that endocannabinoids are overproduced during various forms of I/R, such as myocardial infarction or whole body I/R associated with circulatory shock, and may contribute to the cardiovascular depressive state associated with these pathologies. Previous studies using synthetic CB1 receptor agonists or knockout mice demonstrated CB1 receptor-dependent protection against cerebral I/R injury in various animal models. In contrast, several follow-up reports have shown protection afforded by CB1 receptor antagonists, but not agonists. Excitedly, emerging studies using potent CB2 receptor agonists and/or knockout mice have provided compelling evidence that CB2 receptor activation is protective against myocardial, cerebral and hepatic I/R injuries by decreasing the endothelial cell activation/inflammatory response (for example, expression of adhesion molecules, secretion of chemokines, and so on), and by attenuating the leukocyte chemotaxis, rolling, adhesion to endothelium, activation and transendothelial migration, and interrelated oxidative/nitrosative damage. This review is aimed to discuss the role of endocannabinoids and CB receptors in various forms of I/R injury (myocardial, cerebral, hepatic and circulatory shock) and preconditioning, and to delineate the evidence supporting the therapeutic utility of selective CB2 receptor agonists, which are devoid of psychoactive effects, as a promising new approach to limit I/R-induced tissue damage.
Project description:Cannabinoids have been always identified as harmful drugs because of their negative effects on male and female reproduction. The discovery of the 'endocannabinoid system (ECS)', composed of bioactive lipids (endocannabinoids), their receptors and their metabolic enzymes, and the generation of mouse models missing cannabinoid receptors or other elements of the ECS, has enabled a wealth of information on the significance of endocannabinoid signalling in multiple reproductive events: Sertoli cell survival, spermatogenesis, placentation, fertilization, preimplantation embryo development, implantation and postimplantation embryonic growth. These studies have also opened new perspectives in clinical applications, pointing to the ECS as a new target for correcting infertility and for improving reproductive health in humans. This review will focus on the involvement of type-2 cannabinoid (CB2) receptors in reproductive biology, covering both the male and female sides. It will also discuss the potential relevance of the immunological activity of CB2 at the maternal/foetal interface, as well as the distinctiveness of CB2 versus type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptors that might be exploited for a receptor subtype-specific regulation of fertility. In this context, the different signalling pathways triggered by CB1 and CB2 (especially those controlling the intracellular tone of nitric oxide), the different activation of CB1 and CB2 by endogenous agonists (like anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol) and the different localization of CB1 and CB2 within membrane subdomains, termed 'lipid rafts', will be discussed. It is hoped that CB2-dependent endocannabinoid signalling might become a useful target for correcting infertility, in both men and women.
Project description:Cannabinoids, the bioactive constituents of Cannabis sativa, and endocannabinoids, among which the most important are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, control various biological processes by binding to specific G protein-coupled receptors, namely CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. While a vast amount of information on the mammalian endocannabinoid system does exist, few data have been reported on bony fish. In the goldfish, Carassius auratus, the CB1 receptor has been cloned and its distribution has been analyzed in the retina, brain and gonads, while CB2 had not yet been isolated. In the present paper, we cloned the goldfish CB2 receptor and show that it presents a quite high degree of amino acid identity with zebrafish Danio rerio CB2A and CB2B receptors, while the percentage of identity is lower with the puffer fish Fugu rubripes CB2, as also confirmed by the phylogenetic analysis. The sequence identity becomes much lower when comparing the goldfish and the mammalian CB2 sequences; as for other species, goldfish CB2 and CB1 amino acid sequences share moderate levels of identity. Western-blotting analysis shows the CB2 receptor as two major bands of about 53 and 40 kDa and other faint bands with apparent molecular masses around 70, 57 and 55 kDa. Since the distribution of a receptor could give information on its physiological role, we evaluated and compared CB1 and CB2 mRNA expression in different goldfish organs by means of qReal-Time PCR. Our results show that both CB1 and CB2 receptors are widely expressed in the goldfish, displaying some tissue specificities, thus opening the way for further functional studies on bony fish and other nonmammalian vertebrates.
Project description:Neuropathic pain conditions including neuropathic orofacial pain (NOP) are difficult to treat. Contemporary therapeutic agents for neuropathic pain are often ineffective in relieving pain and are associated with various adverse effects. Finding new options for treating neuropathic pain is a major priority in pain-related research. Cannabinoid-based therapeutic strategies have emerged as promising new options. Cannabinoids mainly act on cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) receptors, and the former is widely distributed in the brain. The therapeutic significance of cannabinoids is masked by their adverse effects including sedation, motor impairment, addiction and cognitive impairment, which are thought to be mediated by CB1 receptors in the brain. Alternative approaches have been developed to overcome this problem by selectively targeting CB2 receptors, peripherally restricted CB1 receptors and endocannabinoids that may be locally synthesized on demand at sites where their actions are pertinent. Many preclinical studies have reported that these strategies are effective for treating neuropathic pain and produce no or minimal side effects. Recently, we observed that inhibition of degradation of a major endocannabinoid, 2-arachydonoylglycerol, can attenuate NOP following trigeminal nerve injury in mice. This review will discuss the above-mentioned alternative approaches that show potential for treating neuropathic pain including NOP.