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Targeting Endocannabinoid Degradation Protects Against Experimental Colitis In Mice

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The endocannabinoid (EC) system mediates protection against intestinal inflammation. In this study, we investigated the effects of blocking EC degradation or cellular reuptake in experimental colitis in mice. Mice were treated with trinitrobenzene-sulfonic acid in presence and absence of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) blocker URB597, the EC membrane transport inhibitor VDM11, and combinations of both. Inflammation was significantly reduced in the presence of URB597, VDM11, or both as evaluated by macroscopic damage score, myeloperoxidase levels, and colon length. These effects were abolished in CB(1)- and CB(2)-receptor-gene-deficient mice. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction after induction of experimental colitis by different pathways showed that expression of FAAH messenger RNA (mRNA) is significantly reduced in different models of inflammation early in the expression of colitis, and these return to control levels as the disease progresses. Genomic DNA from 202 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and 206 healthy controls was analyzed for the C385A polymorphism in the FAAH gene to address a possible role in humans. In our groups, the C385A polymorphism was equally distributed in patients with CD and healthy controls. In conclusion, drugs targeting EC degradation offer therapeutic potential in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. Furthermore, reduction of FAAH mRNA expression is involved in the pathophysiological response to colitis.

Source: Targeting endocannabinoid degradation prote... [J Mol Med (Berl). 2008] - PubMed - NCBI
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