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Arachidonoyl ethanolamide (AEA)-induced apoptosis is mediated by J-series

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The endocannabinoid arachidonoyl ethanolamide (AEA) is a potent inducer of tumor cell apoptosis however its mechanism of cytotoxicity is unclear. A previous report from our laboratory showed that AEA induced cell death in a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-dependent manner and in this report our data indicate that AEA-induced apoptosis is mediated by COX-2 metabolic products of the J-series. In experiments conducted with JWF2 keratinocytes which over-express COX-2, AEA caused a concentration-regulated increase in J-series prostaglandin production and apoptosis. Similarly, cell treatment with exogenously added J-series prostaglandins (15-deoxy, Δ(12,14) PGJ(2) and PGJ(2)) induced apoptosis. AEA-induced apoptosis was inhibited by the antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine, indicating that reactive oxygen species generation was required for apoptosis. Using antagonists of cannabinoid receptor 1, cannabinoid receptor 2, or transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 1, it was observed that cannabinoid receptor inhibition did not block AEA-mediated cell death. In contrast, an inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) potentiated AEA-induced J-series PG synthesis and apoptosis. These results suggest that the metabolism of AEA to J-series PGs regulates the induction of apoptosis in cells with elevated COX-2 levels. Our data further indicate that the proapoptotic activity of AEA can be enhanced by combining it with an inhibitor of FAAH. As such, AEA may be an effective agent to eliminate tumor cells that over-express COX-2.

Source: Pubmed.gov
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