Molecular and cellular biochemistry

Type-2 cannabinoid receptor regulates proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and OPG/RANKL ratio of MC3T3-E1 cells exposed to Titanium particles.

PMID 25292314


The type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) is expressed in osteoblasts and plays a role in bone metabolism through regulation on bone mass and bone turnover, but the functional importance of CB2 in osteoblasts under Titanium (Ti) stimulation is incompletely understood. This study aimed to investigate the CB2 expression in osteoblasts under Ti stimulation and the effects of CB2 activation on proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, mineralization, OPG, and RANKL expression of MC3T3-E1 cells exposed to Ti particles. MC3T3-E1 cells were incubated in the presence of Ti particles with or without CB2-specific agonist HU-308 and antagonist SR144528. Ti particles treatment obviously induced the CB2 expression in MC3T3-E1 cells, and reduced the cell survival in a dose- and time-dependent manner (p < 0.05). Addition of HU-308 could dose-dependently alleviate the Ti-induced decrease of cell survival (p < 0.05). The flow cytometry assay showed that comparing with the control group, the apoptosis rate and caspase-3 activity in the Ti group were significantly elevated (p < 0.05), which could be alleviated by HU-308. Moreover, HU-308 effectively attenuated the decrease of cell mineralization capability, alkaline phosphates (ALP) and osteocalcin activity, and increase of OPG/RANKL ratio induced by Ti particles treatment (p < 0.05). These effects were partially counteracted by combined treatment of CB2 antagonist SR144528 (p < 0.05). In conclusion, CB2 activation has a favorable inhibitory effect on Ti-induced reactions in MC3T3-E1 cell through modulating proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and RANKL expression. These findings suggest that activation of CB2 might be an effective therapeutic strategy to promote bone formation and reduce bone dissolution.