Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 273–280 | Cite as

The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglicerol decreases calcium induced cytochrome c release from liver mitochondria

  • Patrizia Zaccagnino
  • Susanna D’Oria
  • Luigi Luciano Romano
  • Almerinda Di Venere
  • Anna Maria Sardanelli
  • Michele LorussoEmail author


2-Arachidonoylglicerol (2-AG) is an endocannabinoid that mimics the pharmacological effects of Δ9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of the plant Cannabis sativa. It is present in many mammalian tissues, such as brain, liver, spleen, heart and kidney, where it exerts different biological effects either receptor mediated or independently of receptor activation. This work analyzes the effects of 2-AG on liver mitochondrial functions. It is shown that 2-AG causes a relevant decrease of calcium induced cyclosporine A sensitive cytochrome c release from mitochondria, a process representing an early event of the apoptotic program. Cyclosporin sensitive matrix swelling and ROS production measured under the same conditions are, on the contrary, almost unaffected or even enhanced, respectively, by 2-AG. Furthemore, 2-AG is found to stimulate resting state succinate oxidase activity and to inhibit oligomycin sensitive FoF1 ATP synthase activity. All these effects are apparently associated with 2-AG dependent alteration in the fluidity of the mitochondrial membranes, which was measured as generalized polarization of laurdan fluorescence.


Endocannabinoids 2-Arachidonoylglicerol Mitochondrial calcium overload Mitochondrial membrane fluidity Cytochrome c release FoF1 ATP synthase 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrizia Zaccagnino
    • 1
  • Susanna D’Oria
    • 1
  • Luigi Luciano Romano
    • 1
  • Almerinda Di Venere
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anna Maria Sardanelli
    • 1
  • Michele Lorusso
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Basic Medical SciencesUniversity of BariBariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical SciencesUniversity of Tor VergataRomeItaly
  3. 3.IRCCS NeuromedPozzilliItaly

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