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Endocannabinoids and the Immune System in Health and Disease

Chapter
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 231)

Abstract

Endocannabinoids are bioactive lipids that have the potential to signal through cannabinoid receptors to modulate the functional activities of a variety of immune cells. Their activation of these seven-transmembranal, G protein-coupled receptors sets in motion a series of signal transductional events that converge at the transcriptional level to regulate cell migration and the production of cytokines and chemokines. There is a large body of data that supports a functional relevance for 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) as acting through the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R) to inhibit migratory activities for a diverse array of immune cell types. However, unequivocal data that supports a functional linkage of anandamide (AEA) to a cannabinoid receptor in immune modulation remains to be obtained. Endocannabinoids, as typical bioactive lipids, have a short half-life and appear to act in an autocrine and paracrine fashion. Their immediate effective action on immune function may be at localized sites in the periphery and within the central nervous system. It is speculated that endocannabinoids play an important role in maintaining the overall “fine-tuning” of the immune homeostatic balance within the host.

Keywords

Anandamide Antigen presentation 2-Arachidonoylglycerol Astrocyte Basophil Cannabinoid receptor Chemokine Cytokine Dendritic cell Endocannabinoid Interferon Interleukin Lymphocyte Macrophage Mast cell Microglia Monocyte Natural killer (NK) cell Neutrophil Nitric oxide 

Abbreviations

2-AG

2-Arachidonoylglycerol

Abn-CBD

Abnormal cannabidiol

AEA

Anandamide

ALIA

Autacoid local inflammation antagonism

ApoE

Apolipoprotein E

Arg-1

Arginase 1

BBB

Blood–brain barrier

CB1R

Cannabinoid receptor type 1

CB2R

Cannabinoid receptor type 2

ConA

Concanavalin A

CNS

Central nervous system

COX

Cyclooxygenase

ECM

Extracellular matrix

FAAH

Fatty acid amide hydrolase

HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus

HSV-1

Herpes simplex virus type 1

HUVECs

Human umbilical vein endothelial cells

IL

Interleukin

IRAK1BP1

IL-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 binding protein

iNOS

Inducible nitric oxide synthase

IFN

Interferon

LC-APCI-MS

Liquid-chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-mass spectrometry

L-NAME

L-NG-nitroarginine methyl ester

LPS

Lipopolysaccharide

LTB4

Leukotriene B4

MAPK

Mitogen-activated protein kinase

mBSA

Methylated bovine serum albumin

MCP-1

Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1

mDCs

Myeloid dendritic cells

MHC

Major histocompatibility complex

MKP-1

Mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 1

MS

Multiple sclerosis

NADA

N-Arachidonoyldopamine

NAGly

N-Arachidonoyl glycine

NK cell

Natural killer cell

NMDA

N-Methyl-D-aspartate

NO

Nitric oxide

PCR

Polymerase chain reaction

pDCs

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells

PGD2

Prostaglandin D2

PGE2

Prostaglandin E2

PMN

Polymorphonuclear

PPARγ

Peroxidase proliferator-activated receptor γ

PSGL1

P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus

TAK1

TGF-β-activated kinase 1

Tat

Trans-activator of transcription

Tc

Cytotoxic T cells

TCR

T-cell receptor

Th cells

T helper cells

TLRs

Toll-like receptors

TMEV

Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus

TMEV-IDD

Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus-induced demyelinating disease

TNF

Tumor necrosis factor

TRAF6

TNF receptor-associated factor 6

Tregs

Regulatory T cells

VCAM

Vascular cell adhesion molecules

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Laboratory SciencesVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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