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      Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Abdominal Obesity and the Implications for Cardiovascular Risk

      Cardiology

      S. Karger AG

      Abdominal obesity, Endocannabinoid, Energy balance, Global cardiometabolic risk

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          Abstract

          Several cardiometabolic factors present in obese and insulin-resistant individuals represent a continuum of increasing risk for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The importance of abdominal obesity as an independent risk factor is underscored by its association with adverse endocrine function. Recent evidence from animal and human studies has shown a role for the endocannabinoid system in maintaining energy balance and glucose and lipoprotein metabolism, with overactivity linked to aberrant glycemic and lipoprotein control, and a link to adiposity. Modulation of this system through endocannabinoid-receptor blockade has resulted in an improvement in a number of important risk factors in clinical trials, including visceral and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue, glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia and measures of inflammation. These findings may have significant implications for the management of patients at risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic disease; however, the occurrence of psychiatric adverse events with rimonabant may preclude further development of centrally active endocannabinoid receptor antagonists for the treatment of cardiometabolic disorders. Future research is needed to explore the role of selective peripheral CB<sub>1</sub> receptor antagonists in the treatment of patients at high cardiometabolic risk.

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          Most cited references 69

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          Molecular characterization of a peripheral receptor for cannabinoids.

          The major active ingredient of marijuana, delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9-THC), has been used as a psychoactive agent for thousands of years. Marijuana, and delta 9-THC, also exert a wide range of other effects including analgesia, anti-inflammation, immunosuppression, anticonvulsion, alleviation of intraocular pressure in glaucoma, and attenuation of vomiting. The clinical application of cannabinoids has, however, been limited by their psychoactive effects, and this has led to interest in the biochemical bases of their action. Progress stemmed initially from the synthesis of potent derivatives of delta 9-THC, and more recently from the cloning of a gene encoding a G-protein-coupled receptor for cannabinoids. This receptor is expressed in the brain but not in the periphery, except for a low level in testes. It has been proposed that the nonpsychoactive effects of cannabinoids are either mediated centrally or through direct interaction with other, non-receptor proteins. Here we report the cloning of a receptor for cannabinoids that is not expressed in the brain but rather in macrophages in the marginal zone of spleen.
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            The molecular logic of endocannabinoid signalling.

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              Expression of central and peripheral cannabinoid receptors in human immune tissues and leukocyte subpopulations.

              Two proteins with seven transmembrane-spanning domains typical of guanosine-nucleotide-binding-protein-coupled receptors have been identified as cannabinoid receptors; the central cannabinoid receptor, CB1, and the peripheral cannabinoid receptor, CB2, initially described in rat brain and spleen, respectively. Here, we report the distribution patterns for both CB1 and CB2 transcripts in human immune cells and in several human tissues, as analysed using a highly sensitive and quantitative PCR-based method. CB1 was mainly expressed in the central nervous system and, to a lower extent, in several peripheral tissues such as adrenal gland, heart, lung, prostate, uterus, ovary, testis, bone marrow, thymus and tonsils. In contrast, the CB2 gene, which is not expressed in the brain, was particularly abundant in immune tissues, with an expression level 10-100-fold higher than that of CB1. Although CB2 mRNA was also detected in some other peripheral tissues, its level remained very low. In spleen and tonsils, the CB2 mRNA content was equivalent to that of CB1 mRNA in the central nervous system. Among the main human blood cell subpopulations, the distribution pattern of the CB2 mRNA displayed important variations. The rank order of CB2 mRNA levels in these cells was B-cells > natural killer cells > monocytes > polymorphonuclear neutrophil cells > T8 cells > T4 cells. The same rank order was also established in human cell lines belonging to the myeloid, monocytic and lymphoid lineages. The prevailing expression of the CB2 gene in immune tissues was confirmed by Northern-blot analysis. In addition, the expression of the CB2 protein was demonstrated by an immunohistological analysis performed on tonsil sections using specific anti-(human CB2) IgG; this experiment showed that CB2 expression was restricted to B-lymphocyte-enriched areas of the mantle of secondary lymphoid follicles. These results suggest that (a) CB1 and CB2 can be considered as tissue-selective antigens of the central nervous system and immune system, respectively, and (b) cannabinoids may exert specific receptor-mediated actions on the immune system through the CB2 receptor.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                CRD
                Cardiology
                10.1159/issn.0008-6312
                Cardiology
                S. Karger AG
                0008-6312
                1421-9751
                2009
                September 2009
                29 July 2009
                : 114
                : 3
                : 212-225
                Affiliations
                SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, N.Y., USA
                Article
                230691 Cardiology 2009;114:212–225
                10.1159/000230691
                19641317
                © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 116, Pages: 14
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