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Cellular localization and regulation of receptors and enzymes of the endocannabinoid system in intestinal and systemic inflammation

  • Grill, Magdalena1
  • Hasenoehrl, Carina1
  • Kienzl, Melanie1, 2
  • Kargl, Julia1
  • Schicho, Rudolf1, 2
  • 1 Medical University of Graz, Pharmacology Section, Otto Loewi Research Center, Universitätsplatz 4/I, Graz, 8010, Austria , Graz (Austria)
  • 2 BioTechMed Graz, Graz, Austria , Graz (Austria)
Published Article
Histochemistry and Cell Biology
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Sep 08, 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s00418-018-1719-0
Springer Nature


Surveys suggest that Cannabis provides benefit for people with inflammatory bowel disease. However, mechanisms underlying beneficial effects are not clear. We performed in situ hybridization RNAscope® combined with immunohistochemistry to show cell-specific distribution and regulation of cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 (CB1, CB2), G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), and monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) mRNA in immune cells using murine models of intestinal and systemic inflammation. In healthy animals, the presence in enteric ganglia is high for CB1 mRNA, but low for CB2 and GPR55 mRNAs. MGL mRNA is predominant throughout the intestinal wall including myenteric neurons, epithelium, circular and longitudinal muscular layers, and the lamina propria. Within the immune system, B220+ cells exhibit high gene expression for CB2 while the expression of CB2 in F4/80+ and CD3+ cells is less prominent. In contrast, GPR55 mRNA is highly present in F4/80+ and CD3+ cells. qRT-PCR of total colonic segments shows that the expression of GPR55 and MGL genes drops during intestinal inflammation. Also at cellular levels, GPR55 and MGL gene expression is reduced in F4/80+, but not CD3+ cells. As to systemic inflammation, reduced gene expression of MGL is observed in ileum by qRT-PCR, while at cellular levels, altered gene expression is also seen for CB1 and GPR55 in CD3+ but not F4/80+ cells. In summary, our study reveals changes in gene expression of members of the endocannabinoid system in situ attesting particularly GPR55 and MGL a distinct cellular role in the regulation of the immune response to intestinal and systemic inflammation.

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