Expert opinion on therapeutic targets

The effect of endocannabinoid system in ischemia-reperfusion injury: a friend or a foe?

PMID 25936364


In recent years, the endocannabinoid system has emerged as a new therapeutic target in variety of disorders associated with inflammation and tissue injury, including those of the neuronal, liver, renal and cardiovascular system. The aim of the present review is to elucidate the effect of endocannabinoid system on ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) in different organs and systems. The MEDLINE/PubMed database was searched for publications with the medical subject heading Cannabinoids* (CBs), CB receptors*, organ*, ischemia/reperfusion injury*, endocannabinoid* and system*. The initial relevant studies retrieved from the literature were 91 from PubMed. This number was initially limited to 35, after excluding the reviews and studies reporting data for receptors other than cannabinoid. CB2 receptors may play an important compensatory role in controlling tissue inflammation and injury in cells of the neuronal, cardiovascular, liver and renal systems, as well as in infiltrating monocytes/macrophages and leukocytes during various pathological conditions of the systems (atherosclerosis, restenosis, stroke, myocardial infarction, heart, liver and renal failure). These receptors limit inflammation and associated tissue injury. On the basis of preclinical results, pharmacological modulation of CB2 receptors may hold a unique therapeutic potential in stroke, myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, IRI and liver disease.