Coronary vasodilator effects of endogenous cannabinoids in vasopressin-preconstricted unpaced rat isolated hearts

Jens A Wagner, Marco Abesser, Jan Karcher, Martin Laser, George Kunos
Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology 2005, 46 (3): 348-55
The mechanisms by which cannabinoids alter coronary vascular tone and cardiac performance are controversial. We investigated the effects of various cannabinoids in spontaneously beating Langendorff-perfused rat hearts. Bolus injections of anandamide (0.1-1 micromol) caused no change in coronary flow (CF) or left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP). In hearts preperfused with vasopressin to induce vasoconstrictor tone, anandamide or the selective CB1 receptor agonist ACEA (1-100 nmol) dose-dependently increased CF by up to 267% and LVSP by 20 mm Hg. The metabolically stable endocannabinoid derivatives, R-methanandamide and noladin ether, displayed similar effects. In contrast, Delta-THC (10-100 nmol), the major psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, strongly decreased CF and LVSP. The CB2 receptor agonist JWH-133 (10-100 nmol) elicited vasodilator and positive inotropic effects only at higher doses. The CB1 antagonists SR141716A and AM-251 as well as the potassium channel inhibitors tetraethylammonium and iberiotoxin blocked the anandamide-induced increases in CF and LVSP, whereas the CB2 antagonist SR144528 and the putative "CB3 antagonist" O-1918 did not have an inhibitory effect. Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of cardiac CB1 but no CB2 receptors. Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol were detected in heart tissue. However, combined application of fatty acid amidohydrolase inhibitors and the transport inhibitor AM-404 to augment tissue levels of endocannabinoids was without effect on CF or LVSP. We conclude that in the rat isolated heart with reestablished vasoconstrictor tone, cannabinoids including anandamide elicit coronary vasodilation and a secondary increase in contractility via CB1 receptors and potassium channels.

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