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Long-term cannabinoid type 2 receptor agonist therapy decreases bacterial translocation in rats with cirrhosis and ascites

Elsevier B.V.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2014.05.049
  • Bacterial Translocation
  • Cannabinoid Receptors
  • Intestinal Hyperpermeability
  • Peritoneal Macrophages
  • Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis
  • Biology


Background & Aims Intestinal hyperpermeability, impaired peritoneal macrophages (PMs) phagocytosis, and bacterial translocation (BT), resulting in increased systemic and local infection/inflammation such as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) together with increased tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) levels, are all implicated in the pathogenesis of cirrhosis-related complications. Manipulation of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1R and CB2R), which are expressed on the gut mucosa and PMs, has been reported to modulate intestinal inflammation and systemic inflammatory cytokine release. Our study aims to explore the effects of chronic CB1R/CB2R agonist/antagonist treatments on relevant abnormalities in cirrhotic ascitic rats. Methods Vehicle, archidonyl-2-chloroethylamide (ACEA, CB1R agonist), JWH133 (CB2R agonist), and AM630 (CB2R antagonist) were given to thioacetamide (TAA) and common bile duct ligation (BDL) cirrhotic rats with ascites for two weeks and various measurement were performed. Results Compared to sham rats, CB2Rs were downregulated in cirrhotic rat intestines and PMs. The two-week JWH133 treatment significantly decreased systemic/intestinal oxidative stress, TNFα and inflammatory mediators, infection, intestinal mucosal damage and hyperpermeability; the JWH133 treatment also decreased bacterial overgrowth/adhesion, BT and SBP, upregulated intestinal tight junctions and downregulated the PM TNFα receptor/NFκBp65 protein expression in cirrhotic rats. Acute and chronic JWH133 treatment corrected the TNFα-induced suppression of phagocytosis of cirrhotic rat PMs, which then could be reversed by concomitant AM630 treatment. Conclusions Our study suggests that CB2R agonists have the potential to treat BT and various relevant abnormalities through inhibition of systemic/intestinal oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokines and TNFα release in cirrhosis. Overall, the chronic CB2R agonist treatment affects multiple approach mechanisms, and its direct effect on the hyperdynamic circulation is only minor.

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