Endocannabinoids anandamide and its cannabinoid receptors in liver fibrosis after murine schistosomiasis

Summary

This study examined endogenous cannabinoid (ECB)-anandamide (AEA) and its cannabinoid receptors (CBR) in mice liver with the development of schistosoma japonicum. Mice were infected with schistosoma by means of pasting the cercaria onto their abdomens. Liver fibrosis was pathologically confirmed nine weeks after the infection. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was employed to determine the concentration of AEA in the plasma of mice. Immunofluorescence was used to detect the expression of CBR1 and CBR2 in liver tissue. Morphological examination showed typical pathological changes, with worm tubercles of schistosoma deposited in the liver tissue, fibrosis around the worm tubercles and infiltration or soakage of inflammatory cells. Also, CBR1 and CBR2 were present in hepatocytes and hepatic sinusoids of the two groups, but they were obviously enhanced in the schistosoma-infected mice. However, the average optical density of CBR1 in the negative control and fibrosis group was 13.28±7.32 and 30.55±7.78, and CBR2 were 28.13±6.42 and 52.29±4.24 (P<0.05). The levels of AEA in the fibrosis group were significantly increased as compared with those of the control group. The concentrations of AEA were (0.37±0.07) and (5.67±1.34) ng/mL (P<0.05). It is concluded that the expression of endocannabinoids AEA and its cannabinoid receptor CBR were significantly increased in schistosoma-infected mice. Endogenous endocannabinoids may be involved in the development of schistosoma-induced liver fibrosis.

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Correspondence to Wangxian Tang 唐望先.

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This project was supported by a grant from the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (No. 30571627).

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Liu, H., Gao, X., Duan, R. et al. Endocannabinoids anandamide and its cannabinoid receptors in liver fibrosis after murine schistosomiasis. J. Huazhong Univ. Sci. Technol. [Med. Sci.] 29, 182–186 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11596-009-0209-y

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Key words

  • anandamide
  • cannabinoid receptor
  • liver fibrosis
  • schistosoma japonicum