Activation through Cannabinoid Receptors 1 and 2 on Dendritic Cells Triggers NF-B-Dependent Apoptosis: Novel Role for Endogenous and Exogenous Cannabinoids in Immunoregulation
Endocannabinoids are naturally released in the body when the cannabinoid receptor (CB1) is activated. This is due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vital system in the human body. Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis sativa plant and they are proven to have an anti-inflammatory effect. In this current paper, both endogenous cannabinoids and cannabinoids are examined to see the effect it has on murine bone marrow-derived from dendritic cells (DC’s). Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a major psychoactive component found in marijuana, is also studied to see if it has an effect on DC’s.
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The physiological functions of cannabinoids expressed on immune cells are still unclear. The function of endocannabinoids produced by leukocytes in the regulation of immune response is also unclear. In a previous study, it was discovered that endocannabinoids, anandamide, and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (chemicals found in cannabis), as well as CB1 and CB2 receptors, were found on human DCs. It can then be said that endocannabinoids have an antiproliferative effect on down-regulating the immune system’s response to disease.
THC administration in mice has seen the DC’s being depleted in the spleen. The data from this study has illustrated that DCs are more sensitive to THC-induced apoptosis when paired with other immune cells. Overall, more studies are needed to discover all of the mechanisms that THC has in regards to cell death.
Also, DCs only have a small proportion of the splenocytes and this means that it is unclear if this will actually improve immune response. Such studies are necessary to understand the consequences of THC-induced depletion of DCs on the immune response.