Cannabinoid-2 receptor limits inflammation, oxidative/nitrosative stress, and cell death in nephropathy

Laboratory of Physiologic Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Free Radical Biology and Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.74). 02/2010; 48(3):457-467. DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.11.022


Cisplatin is an important chemotherapeutic agent; however, its nephrotoxicity limits its clinical use. Enhanced inflammatory response and oxidative/nitrosative stress seem to play a key role in the development of cisplatin-induced nephropathy. Activation of cannabinoid-2 (CB2) receptors with selective agonists exerts anti-inflammatory and tissue-protective effects in various disease models. We have investigated the role of CB2 receptors in cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity using the selective CB2 receptor agonist HU-308 and CB2 knockout mice. Cisplatin significantly increased inflammation (leukocyte infiltration, CXCL1/2, MCP-1, TNFα, and IL-1β levels) and expression of adhesion molecule ICAM-1 and superoxide-generating enzymes NOX2, NOX4, and NOX1 and enhanced ROS generation, iNOS expression, nitrotyrosine formation, and apoptotic and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-dependent cell death in the kidneys of mice, associated with marked histopathological damage and impaired renal function (elevated serum BUN and creatinine levels) 3 days after the administration of the drug. CB2 agonist attenuated the cisplatin-induced inflammatory response, oxidative/nitrosative stress, and cell death in the kidney and improved renal function, whereas CB2 knockouts developed enhanced inflammation and tissue injury. Thus, the endocannabinoid system, through CB2 receptors, protects against cisplatin-induced kidney damage by attenuating inflammation and oxidative/nitrosative stress, and selective CB2 agonists may represent a promising novel approach to preventing this devastating complication of chemotherapy.

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    • "The activation of the CB2 receptor seems indeed to be associated with a reduced expression of iNOS [57]. Additionally, CB2 stimulation seems to suppress the release of pro-inflammatory factors such as NO and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in macrophages [58]. "
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