Inhibition of glioma growth in vivo by selective activation of the CB(2) cannabinoid receptor. (17/168)

The development of new therapeutic strategies is essential for the management of gliomas, one of the most malignant forms of cancer. We have shown previously that the growth of the rat glioma C6 cell line is inhibited by psychoactive cannabinoids (I. Galve-Roperh et al., Nat. Med., 6: 313-319, 2000). These compounds act on the brain and some other organs through the widely expressed CB(1) receptor. By contrast, the other cannabinoid receptor subtype, the CB(2) receptor, shows a much more restricted distribution and is absent from normal brain. Here we show that local administration of the selective CB(2) agonist JWH-133 at 50 microg/day to Rag-2(-/-) mice induced a considerable regression of malignant tumors generated by inoculation of C6 glioma cells. The selective involvement of the CB(2) receptor in this action was evidenced by: (a) the prevention by the CB(2) antagonist SR144528 but not the CB(1) antagonist SR141716; (b) the down-regulation of the CB(2) receptor but not the CB(1) receptor in the tumors; and (c) the absence of typical CB(1)-mediated psychotropic side effects. Cannabinoid receptor expression was subsequently examined in biopsies from human astrocytomas. A full 70% (26 of 37) of the human astrocytomas analyzed expressed significant levels of cannabinoid receptors. Of interest, the extent of CB(2) receptor expression was directly related with tumor malignancy. In addition, the growth of grade IV human astrocytoma cells in Rag-2(-/-) mice was completely blocked by JWH-133 administration at 50 microg/day. Experiments carried out with C6 glioma cells in culture evidenced the internalization of the CB(2) but not the CB(1) receptor upon JWH-133 challenge and showed that selective activation of the CB(2) receptor signaled apoptosis via enhanced ceramide synthesis de novo. These results support a therapeutic approach for the treatment of malignant gliomas devoid of psychotropic side effects.  (+info)

Palmitoylethanolamide inhibits the expression of fatty acid amide hydrolase and enhances the anti-proliferative effect of anandamide in human breast cancer cells. (18/168)

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) has been shown to act in synergy with anandamide (arachidonoylethanolamide; AEA), an endogenous agonist of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB(1)). This synergistic effect was reduced by the CB(2) cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR144528, although PEA does not activate either CB(1) or CB(2) receptors. Here we show that PEA potently enhances the anti-proliferative effects of AEA on human breast cancer cells (HBCCs), in part by inhibiting the expression of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the major enzyme catalysing AEA degradation. PEA (1-10 microM) enhanced in a dose-related manner the inhibitory effect of AEA on both basal and nerve growth factor (NGF)-induced HBCC proliferation, without inducing any cytostatic effect by itself. PEA (5 microM) decreased the IC(50) values for AEA inhibitory effects by 3-6-fold. This effect was not blocked by the CB(2) receptor antagonist SR144528, and was not mimicked by a selective agonist of CB(2) receptors. PEA enhanced AEA-evoked inhibition of the expression of NGF Trk receptors, which underlies the anti-proliferative effect of the endocannabinoid on NGF-stimulated MCF-7 cells. The effect of PEA was due in part to inhibition of AEA degradation, since treatment of MCF-7 cells with 5 microM PEA caused a approximately 30-40% down-regulation of FAAH expression and activity. However, PEA also enhanced the cytostatic effect of the cannabinoid receptor agonist HU-210, although less potently than with AEA. PEA did not modify the affinity of ligands for CB(1) or CB(2) receptors, and neither did it alter the CB(1)/CB(2)-mediated inhibitory effect of AEA on adenylate cyclase type V, nor the expression of CB(1) and CB(2) receptors in MCF-7 cells. We suggest that long-term PEA treatment of cells may positively affect the pharmacological activity of AEA, in part by inhibiting FAAH expression.  (+info)

Differential effects of anandamide on acetylcholine release in the guinea-pig ileum mediated via vanilloid and non-CB1 cannabinoid receptors. (19/168)

1. The effects of anandamide on [3H]-acetylcholine release and muscle contraction were studied on the myenteric plexus-longitudinal muscle preparation of the guinea-pig ileum preincubated with [3H]-choline. 2. Anandamide increased both basal [3H]-acetylcholine release (pEC(50) 6.3) and muscle tone (pEC(50) 6.3). The concentration-response curves for anandamide were shifted to the right by 1 microM capsazepine (pK(B) 7.5 and 7.6), and by the combined blockade of NK1 and NK3 tachykinin receptors with the antagonists CP99994 plus SR142801 (each 0.1 microM). The CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonists, SR141716A (1 microM) and SR144528 (30 nM), did not modify the facilitatory effects of anandamide. 3. Anandamide inhibited the electrically-evoked release of [3H]-acetylcholine (pEC(50) 5.8) and contractions (pEC(50) 5.2). The contractile response to the muscarinic agonist methacholine was not significantly affected by 10 microM anandamide. 4. The inhibitory effects of anandamide were not changed by either capsazepine (1 microM), SR144528 (30 nM) or CP99994 plus SR142801 (each 0.1 microM). SR141716A (1 microM) produced rightward shifts in the inhibitory concentration-response curves for anandamide yielding pK(B) values of 6.6 and 6.2. 5. CP55940 inhibited the evoked [3H]-acetylcholine release and contractions, and SR141716A (0.1 microM) shifted the concentration-response curves of CP55940 to the right with pK(B) values of 8.4 and 8.9. 6. The experiments confirm the existence of release-inhibitory CB1 receptors on cholinergic myenteric neurones. We conclude that anandamide inhibits the evoked acetylcholine release via stimulation of a receptor that is different from the CB1 and CB2 receptor. Furthermore, anandamide increases basal acetylcholine release via stimulation of vanilloid receptors located at primary afferent fibres.  (+info)

Inhibitory effect of palmitoylethanolamide on gastrointestinal motility in mice. (20/168)

1. We have studied the effect of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA, 2.5 - 30 mg kg(-1), i.p.) on upper gastrointestinal transit in control mice and in mice with chronic intestinal inflammation induced by croton oil. 2. PEA significantly and dose-dependently decreased intestinal transit. The inhibitory effect of PEA (10 mg kg(-1)) was not modified by the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor antagonist SR141716A (0.3 mg kg(-1), i.p.), the cannabinoid CB(2) receptor antagonist SR144528 (1 mg kg(-1), i.p.), N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 25 mg kg(-1), i.p.), yohimbine (1 mg kg(-1), i.p.), naloxone (2 mg kg(-1), i.p.) or hexamethonium (1 mg kg(-1), i.p.). 3. PEA levels were significantly decreased in the small intestine of croton oil-treated mice. In these animals, PEA also inhibited motility and this effect was not counteracted by SR141716A (0.3 mg kg(-1)), or SR144528 (1 mg kg(-1)). 4. Pre-treatment of mice with the amidase inhibitor phenylmethyl sulphonil fluoride (PMSF, 30 mg kg(-1), i.p.) did not modify the inhibitory effect of PEA, either in control or in mice with inflammation. 5. It is concluded that PEA inhibits intestinal motility with a peripheral mechanism independent from cannabinoid receptor activation. The decreased levels of PEA in croton oil-treated might contribute, at least in part, to the exaggerated transit observed during chronic intestinal inflammation.  (+info)

Prevention of cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome by lithium: involvement of oxytocinergic neuronal activation. (21/168)

Cannabis (i.e., marijuana and cannabinoids) is the most commonly used illicit drug in developed countries, and the lifetime prevalence of marijuana dependence is the highest of all illicit drugs in the United States. To provide clues for finding effective pharmacological treatment for cannabis-dependent patients, we examined the effects and possible mechanism of lithium administration on the cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome in rats. A systemic injection of the mood stabilizer lithium, at serum levels that were clinically relevant, prevented the cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome. The effects of lithium were accompanied by expression of the cellular activation marker Fos proteins within most oxytocin-immunoreactive neurons and a significant increase in oxytocin mRNA expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei. Lithium also produced a significant elevation of oxytocin levels in the peripheral blood. We suggest that the effects of lithium against the cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome are mediated by oxytocinergic neuronal activation and subsequent release and action of oxytocin within the CNS. In support of our hypothesis, we found that the effects of lithium against the cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome were antagonized by systemic preapplication of an oxytocin antagonist and mimicked by systemic or intracerebroventricular injection of oxytocin. These results demonstrate that oxytocinergic neuronal activation plays a critical role in the action of lithium against the cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome in rats, thus providing a potentially novel strategy for the treatment of cannabis dependence in humans.  (+info)

Antiinflammatory action of endocannabinoid palmitoylethanolamide and the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone in a model of acute inflammation in the rat. (22/168)

1. The antiinflammatory activity of synthetic cannabinoid nabilone in the rat model of carrageenan-induced acute hindpaw inflammation was compared with that of the endocannabinoid palmitoylethanolamide and the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug indomethacin. 2. Preliminary experiments in rats used a tetrad of behavioural tests, specific for tetrahydrocannabinol-type activity in the CNS. These showed that the oral dose of nabilone 2.5 mg kg(-1) had no cannabinoid psychoactivity. 3. Intraplantar injection of carrageenan (1% w v(-1)) elicited a time-dependent increase in paw volume and thermal hyperalgesia. 4. Nabilone (0.75, 1.5, 2.5 mg kg(-1), p.o.), given 1 h before carrageenan, reduced the development of oedema and the associated hyperalgesia in a dose-related manner. Nabilone 2.5 mg kg(-1), palmitoylethanolamide 10 mg kg(-1) and indomethacin 5 mg kg(-1), given p.o. 1 h before carrageenan, also reduced the inflammatory parameters in a time-dependent manner. 5. The selective CB(2) cannabinoid receptor antagonist [N-[(1S)-endo-1,3,3-trimethyl bicyclo [2.2.1]heptan-2-yl]-5-(4-chloro-3-methylphenyl)-1-(4-methylbenzyl)pyrazole-3 carboxamide] (SR 144528), 3 mg kg(-1) p.o. 1 h before nabilone and palmitoylethanolamide, prevented the anti-oedema and antihyperalgesic effects of the two cannabinoid agonists 3 h after carrageenan. 6. Our findings show the antiinflammatory effect of nabilone and confirm that of palmitoylethanolamide indicating that these actions are mediated by an uncharacterized CB(2)-like cannabinoid receptor.  (+info)

Cannabinol enhancement of interleukin-2 (IL-2) expression by T cells is associated with an increase in IL-2 distal nuclear factor of activated T cell activity. (23/168)

It has been demonstrated previously that cannabinol (CBN) differentially modulates interleukin-2 (IL-2) protein secretion by T cells with a corresponding change in extracellular signal-regulated kinase activity. The objective of the present studies was to further investigate the molecular mechanism by which CBN enhances IL-2 gene expression using the EL4 T cell line. We demonstrate here that steady-state IL-2 mRNA expression was significantly enhanced by CBN in a concentration-dependent manner in EL4 cells activated with suboptimal concentrations of phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (2-10 nM). Concordantly, a marked increase was observed in nuclear factor of activated T cells (NF-AT) DNA binding activity to the IL-2 distal NF-AT site, but not to nuclear factor for immunoglobulin kappa chain in B cells or activator protein 1 motifs. Transient transfection of EL4 cells with a reporter gene under the control of multiple IL-2 distal NF-AT motifs exhibited increased transcriptional activity by CBN in suboptimally activated cells. In addition, the CBN-mediated enhancement of IL-2 protein secretion and the transcriptional activity of the IL-2 distal NF-AT reporter gene was abrogated by the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase inhibitor KN93, but not by the CB2 receptor antagonist SR144528. Enhancement of IL-2 was also demonstrated with CP55940, Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabidiol, thus suggesting that the phenomenon is not unique to CBN. Collectively, these results suggest that increased IL-2 secretion by CBN is mediated through the enhancement of IL-2 gene transcription by activation of NF-AT in a CB1/CB2-independent manner.  (+info)

Substrates modulate the rate-determining step for CO binding in cytochrome P450cam (CYP101). A high-pressure stopped-flow study. (24/168)

The high-pressure stopped-flow technique is applied to study the CO binding in cytochrome P450cam (P450cam) bound with homologous substrates (1R-camphor, camphane, norcamphor and norbornane) and in the substrate-free protein. The activation volume DeltaV # of the CO on-rate is positive for P450cam bound with substrates that do not contain methyl groups. The kon rate constant for these substrate complexes is in the order of 3 x 10(6) M(-1) x s(-1). In contrast, P450cam complexed with substrates carrying methyl groups show a negative activation volume and a low kon rate constant of approximately 3 x 10(4) M(-1) x s(-1). By relating kon and DeltaV # with values for the compressibility and the influx rate of water for the heme pocket of the substrate complexes it is concluded that the positive activation volume is indicative for a loosely bound substrate that guarantees a high solvent accessibility for the heme pocket and a very compressible active site. In addition, subconformers have been found for the substrate-free and camphane-bound protein which show different CO binding kinetics.  (+info)