Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 1511–1520 | Cite as

In vivo and In vitro Identification of Endocannabinoid Signaling in Periodontal Tissues and Their Potential Role in Local Pathophysiology

  • Anna Konermann
  • Andreas Jäger
  • Stefanie A. E. Held
  • P. Brossart
  • Anne Schmöle
Original Research


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) with its binding receptors CB1 and CB2 impacts multiple pathophysiologies not only limited to neuronal psychoactivity. CB1 is assigned to cerebral neuron action, whereas CB2 is mainly expressed in different non-neuronal tissues and associated with immunosuppressive effects. Based on these tissue-selective CB receptor roles, it was the aim of this study to analyze potential expression in periodontal tissues under physiological conditions and inflammatory states. In vivo, CB receptor expression was investigated on human periodontal biopsies with or without bacterial inflammation and on rat maxillae with or without sterile inflammation. In vitro analyses were performed on human periodontal ligament (PDL) cells at rest or under mechanical strain via qRT-PCR, Western blot, and immunocytochemistry. P < 0.05 was set statistical significant. In vivo, CB1 expression was significantly higher in healthy PDL structures compared to CB2 (13.5% ± 1.3 of PDL tissues positively stained; 7.1% ± 0.9). Bacterial inflammation effected decrease in CB1 (9.7% ± 2.4), but increase in CB2 (14.7% ± 2.5). In contrast, sterile inflammation caused extensive CB1 (40% ± 1.9) and CB2 (41.7% ± 2.2) accumulations evenly distributed in the tooth surrounding PDL. In vitro, CB2 was ubiquitously expressed on gene and protein level. CB1 was constitutively expressed on transcriptional level (0.41% ± 0.09), even higher than CB2 (0.29% ± 0.06), but undetectable on protein level. Analyses further revealed expression changes of both receptors in mechanically loaded PDL cells. CB1 and CB2 are varyingly expressed in periodontal tissues, both adjusted by different entities of periodontal inflammation and by mechanical stress. This indicates potential ECS function as regulatory tool in controlling of periodontal pathophysiology.


Cannabinoid receptors CB1 CB2 Inflammation Neurotransmitter Periodontal ligament cells Periodontal pathophysiology 



The authors would like to thank H. Schrage from the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry as much as I. Bay-Müller K. Reifenrath and J. Marciniak from the Department of Orthodontics, University of Bonn as much as S. Daecke from the Department of Oncology and Hematology, University of Bonn, for technical support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors disclose any potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Konermann
    • 1
  • Andreas Jäger
    • 1
  • Stefanie A. E. Held
    • 2
  • P. Brossart
    • 2
  • Anne Schmöle
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Orthodontics, Medical FacultyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Department of Oncology and HematologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Molecular Psychiatry, Medical FacultyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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