J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006 Mar;58(3):351-8.

Arthritis and Cannabinoids: HU-210 and Win-55, 212-2 Prevent IL-1Alpha-Induced Matrix Degradation in Bovine Articular Chondrocytes In-Vitro.

Mbvundula EC, Bunning RA, Rainsford KD.

Biomedical Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, S1 1WB, UK.

Cannabinoids have analgesic, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties and attenuate joint damage in animal models of arthritis. In this study the mechanisms of action of the synthetic cannabinoid agonists, HU-210 and Win-55,212-2, were studied to determine if they affected interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1alpha)-induced proteoglycan and collagen degradation in bovine nasal cartilage explant cultures and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production in primary cultures of bovine articular chondrocytes. The effects of the inactive enantiomer, Win-55,212-3, were compared with those of the active enantiomer, Win-55,212-2, to determine if the effects were cannabinoid (CB)-receptor mediated. The chondrocytes and explants were stimulated by IL-1alpha (100 U mL(-1) identical with 0.06 nM and 500 U mL(-1) identical with 0.3 nM, respectively). Proteoglycan breakdown was determined as sulfated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) release using the dimethylmethylene blue assay. Collagen degradation was determined as hydroxyproline in the conditioned culture media and cartilage digests. PGE2 was determined by ELISA. Expression of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2; cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (COX-1 and COX-2); inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS); as well as activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) in chondrocytes were studied using immunoblotting techniques and immunofluorescence.

The results showed that HU-210 and Win-55,212-2 (5-15 microM) significantly inhibited IL-1-alpha stimulated proteoglycan (P < 0.001) and collagen degradation (P < 0.001). Win-55,212-2 (5-10 microM) also significantly inhibited PGE2 production (P < 0.01). At 5 microM, Win-55,212-2 inhibited the expression of iNOS and COX-2 and activation of NF-kappaB. Chondrocytes appeared to constitutively express cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It is concluded that biologically stable synthetic cannabinoids protect cartilage matrix from degradation induced by cytokines and this effect is possibly CB-receptor mediated and involves effects on prostaglandin and nitric oxide metabolism. Cannabinoids could also be producing these effects via inhibition of NF-kappaB activation.

PMID: 16536902 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]



Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 2008 Feb;4(1):245-59.

Cannabinoids in the Management of Difficult to Treat Pain.

Russo EB.

This article reviews recent research on cannabinoid analgesia via the endocannabinoid system and non-receptor mechanisms, as well as randomized clinical trials employing cannabinoids in pain treatment. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, Marinol ®) and nabilone (Cesamet ®) are currently approved in the United States and other countries, but not for pain indications. Other synthetic cannabinoids, such as ajulemic acid, are in development. Crude herbal cannabis remains illegal in most jurisdictions but is also under investigation. Sativex ®, a cannabis derived oromucosal spray containing equal proportions of THC (partial CB1) receptor agonist ) and cannabidiol (CBD, a non-euphoriant, anti-inflammatory analgesic with CB1 receptor antagonist and endocannabinoid modulating effects) was approved in Canada in 2005 for treatment of central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and in 2007 for intractable cancer pain. Numerous randomized clinical trials have demonstrated safety and efficacy for Sativex in central and peripheral neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer pain. An Investigational New Drug application to conduct advanced clinical trials for cancer pain was approved by the US FDA in January 2006. Cannabinoid analgesics have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials with acceptable adverse event profiles. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.

PMCID: PMC2503660, PMID: 18728714 [PubMed - in process]



Endocrinology. 2008 Nov;149(11):5619-26. Epub 2008 Jul 17.

Regulation of Bone Mass, Osteoclast Function, and Ovariectomy-Induced Bone Loss by the Type 2 Cannabinoid Receptor.

Idris AI, Sophocleous A, Landao-Bassonga E, van't Hof RJ, Ralston SH.

Rheumatic Diseases Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

The endocannabinoid system has recently been shown to play a role in the regulation of bone metabolism. The type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) has been reported to regulate bone mass, but conflicting results have been reported with regard to its effects on bone resorption and osteoclast function. Here we investigated the role that CB2 plays in regulating bone mass and osteoclast function using a combination of pharmacological and genetic approaches. The CB2-selective antagonist/inverse agonist AM630 inhibited osteoclast formation and activity in vitro, whereas the CB2-selective agonists JWH133 and HU308 stimulated osteoclast formation. Osteoclasts generated from CB2 knockout mice (CB2-/-) were resistant to the inhibitory effects of AM630 in vitro, consistent with a CB2-mediated effect. There was no significant difference in peak bone mass between CB2-/- mice and wild-type littermates, but after ovariectomy, bone was lost to a greater extent in wild-type compared with CB2-/- mice. Furthermore, AM630 protected against bone loss in wild-type mice, but the effect was blunted in CB2-/- mice. We conclude that CB2 regulates osteoclast formation and bone resorption in vitro and that under conditions of increased bone turnover, such as after ovariectomy, CB2 regulates bone loss. These observations indicate that CB2 regulates osteoclast formation and contributes to ovariectomy-induced bone loss and demonstrate that cannabinoid receptor antagonists/inverse agonists may be of value in the treatment of bone diseases characterized by increased osteoclast activity.

PMID: 18635663 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]