The Role of Cannabinoids in Inflammatory Modulation of Allergic Respiratory Disorders, Inflammatory Pain and Ischemic Stroke

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Abstract:

This review is intended to offer updated information on the involvement of cannabinoids in the process of inflammation, focusing on immune/allergic reactions, inflammatory pain and neuroinflammation and discussing the interactions among endocannabinoid metabolism, prostanoids and nitric oxide. Two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which belong to the G protein-coupled receptor family, have been identified and are targeted by numerous exogenous and endogenous ligands. The activation of CB2 receptors on mast cells has direct antiinflammatory effects, causing decreased release of pro-inflammatory mediators by these cells. The activation of CB1 receptors on bronchial nerve endings has bronchodilator effects by acting on the airway smooth muscle and may be beneficial in airway hyperreactivity and asthma. Moreover, pharmacologic interference with endocannabinoid metabolism has been demonstrated to result in anti-nociceptive activity, mediated by CB1 and CB2 receptors, in animal models of inflammatory pain. The presence of endocannabinoid machinery in the central nervous system, together with high levels of CB1 expression, suggests that the endocannabinoid system is an important modulator of neuroinflammation and a possible drug target. In selected conditions, the activation of CB1 receptors in cerebral blood vessels can have beneficial antiischemic effects. However, as endocannabinoids can also bind to vanilloid receptors, they may also mediate neurotoxic effects.

Keywords: CB1; CB2; Cannabinoids; Respiratory Disorders; cannabinoid receptors; endocannabinoids; immune/allergic reaction; inflammatory pain; neuroinflammation; neurotoxic effects

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/138945012800675786

Affiliations: Department of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Florence, Viale G. Pieraccini 6, I- 50139 Florence, Italy.

Publication date: June 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.

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