A synthetic cannabinoid, CP55940, inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine mRNA expression in a cannabinoid receptor-independent mechanism in rat cerebellar granule cells

Toshiki Chiba, Sanae Ueno, Yutaro Obara, Norimichi Nakahata
Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 2011, 63 (5): 636-47

OBJECTIVES: The inflammatory response plays an important role in the pathogenesis of many diseases in the central nervous system. Cannabinoids exhibit diverse pharmacological actions including anti-inflammatory activity. In this study, we tried to elucidate possible effects of cannabinoids on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced expression of inflammatory cytokine mRNAs in rat cerebellar granule cells.

METHODS: Inhibitory effects of cannabinoids on cytokine induction in cerebellar granule cells were determined by RT-PCR method.

KEY FINDINGS: In these cells, both mRNA and protein of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB(1) ), but not CB(2) , were expressed. LPS (1 µg/ml) produced a marked increase in the induction of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1β, interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor-α. CP55940, a synthetic cannabinoid analogue, concentration-dependently inhibited inflammatory cytokine expression induced by LPS. On the other hand, the endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoylglycerol and anandamide were not able to inhibit this inflammatory response. Notably, a CB(1) /CB(2) antagonist NESS0327 (3 µm) did not reverse the inhibition of cytokine mRNA expression induced by CP55940. GPR55, a putative novel cannabinoid receptor, mRNA was also expressed in cerebellar granule cells. Although it has been suggested that G(q) associates with GPR55, cannabinoids including CP55940 did not promote phosphoinositide hydrolysis and consequent elevation of intracellular Ca([2+]) concentration. Furthermore, a putative GPR55 antagonist, cannabidiol, also showed a similar inhibitory effect to that of CP55940.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the synthetic cannabinoid CP55940 negatively modulates cytokine mRNA expression in cerebellar granule cells by a CB and GPR55 receptor-independent mechanism.

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