Cannabinoid CB(2) receptors in health and disease.
ABSTRACT Marijuana has been used for thousands of years to affect human health. Dissecting the peripheral effects from the central psychotropic effects has revealed a complex interplay between cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and their receptors. This review examines recent advances in understanding the expression, regulation and utilization of the CB(2) receptor. Here we highlight the molecular aspects of the CB(2) receptor, CB(2) receptor signaling and new ligands for this receptor. We focus in the rest of the review on recent findings in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract and liver, the brain and the cardiovascular system and airways as examples of areas where new developments in our understanding of the CB(2) receptor have occurred. Early studies focused on expression of this receptor under baseline physiologic conditions; however, perturbations such as those that occur during inflammation, ischemia/reperfusion injury and cancer are revealing a critical role for the CB(2) receptor in regulating these disease processes amongst others. As a result, the CB(2) receptor is an appealing therapeutic target as well as a useful tool for shedding new light on physiological regulatory processes throughout the body.
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ABSTRACT: K2 or Spice is an emerging drug of abuse that contains synthetic cannabinoids, including JWH-018 and JWH-073. Recent reports indicate that monohydroxylated metabolites of JWH-018 and JWH-073 retain high affinity and activity at cannabinoid type-1 receptors (CB1Rs), potentially contributing to the enhanced toxicity of K2 compared to marijuana. Since the parent compounds also bind to cannabinoid type-2 receptors (CB2Rs), this study investigated the affinity and intrinsic activity of JWH-018, JWH-073 and several monohydroxylated metabolites at human CB2Rs (hCB2Rs). The affinity of cannabinoids for hCB2Rs was determined by competition binding studies employing CHO-hCB2 membranes. Intrinsic activity of compounds was assessed by G-protein activation and adenylyl cyclase (AC)-inhibition in CHO-hCB2 cells. JWH-073, JWH-018 and several of their human metabolites exhibit nanomolar affinity and act as potent agonists at hCB2Rs. Furthermore, a major omega hydroxyl metabolite of JWH-073 (JWH-073-M5) binds to CB2Rs with 10-fold less affinity than the parent molecule, but unexpectedly, is equipotent in regulating AC-activity when compared to the parent molecule. Finally, when compared to CP-55,940 and ∆(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC), JWH-018, JWH-018-M5 and JWH-073-M5 require significantly less CB2R occupancy to produce similar levels of AC-inhibition, indicating that these compounds may more efficiently couple CB2Rs to AC than the well characterized cannabinoid agonists examined. These results indicate that JWH-018, JWH-073 and several major human metabolites of these compounds exhibit high affinity and demonstrate distinctive signaling properties at CB2Rs. Therefore, future studies examining pharmacological and toxicological properties of synthetic cannabinoids present in K2 products should consider potential actions of these drugs at both CB1 and CB2Rs.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 03/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.taap.2013.03.012 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chronic liver diseases represent a major health problem due to cirrhosis and its complications. During the last decade, endocannabinoids and their receptors have emerged as major regulators of several pathophysiological aspects associated with chronic liver disease progression. Hence, hepatic cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB(2)) receptors display beneficial effects on alcoholic fatty liver, hepatic inflammation, liver injury, regeneration and fibrosis. Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB(1)) receptors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several lesions such as alcoholic and metabolic steatosis, liver fibrogenesis, or circulatory failure associated with cirrhosis. Although the development of CB(1) antagonists has recently been suspended due to the high incidence of central side effects, preliminary preclinical data obtained with peripherally restricted CB(1) antagonists give real hopes in the development of active CB(1) molecules devoid of central adverse effects. CB(2) -selective molecules may also offer novel perspectives for the treatment of liver diseases, and their clinical development is clearly awaited. Whether combined treatment with a peripherally restricted CB(1) antagonist and a CB(2) agonist might result in an increased therapeutic potential will warrant further investigation.British Journal of Pharmacology 04/2011; 163(7):1432-40. DOI:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01397.x · 4.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chronic HIV-1 infection commonly affects behavioral, cognitive, and motor functions in the infected human host and is commonly referred to as HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). This occurs, in measure, as a consequence of ingress of leukocytes into brain perivascular regions. Such cells facilitate viral infection and disease by eliciting blood-brain barrier and neuronal network dysfunctions. Previous works demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system modulates neuroimmunity and as such neuronal and glial functions. Herein, we investigated CB2R receptor expression in murine HIV-1 encephalitis (HIVE) and the abilities of a highly selective CB2R agonist, Gp1a, to modulate disease. HIV-1-infected human monocyte-derived macrophages were injected into the caudate and putamen of immunodeficient mice reconstituted with human peripheral blood lymphocytes (hu-PBL/HIVE). Brains of hu-PBL/HIVE mice showed microglial activation and increased expression of CB2R, but not CB1R or GPR55. Gp1a substantively reduced infiltration of human cells into the mouse brain and reduced HLA DQ activation. Gp1a down modulated CCR5 expression on human cells in the spleen with an increase in Fas ligand expression. Our results support the notion that CB2 receptor agonists may be a viable therapeutic candidate for HAND.Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology 09/2010; 5(3):456-68. DOI:10.1007/s11481-010-9225-8 · 3.17 Impact Factor