Cannabidiol and Endocrine Disorders

Studies and peer-reviewed research into the effects of CBD and the Endocrine System

Endocrine Disorders

 

Endocannabinoid system participates in neuroendocrine control of homeostasis  

From the abstract:

The hypothalamo-neurohypophyseal system plays a role in homeostasis under a variety of stress conditions, including endotoxemia. Oxytocin (OXT) and vasopressin (VP) are important hormones synthesized by neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei and released into different brain regions and from the neurohypophyseal terminals into the blood in response to many patho-physiological stimuli. However, the mechanism that controls OXT and VP secretion has not been fully elucidated. Nitric oxide (NO) is a known mediator that regulates the release of these hormones. The endocannabinoid system is a new intercellular system that modulates several neuroendocrine actions. Endocannabinoids (eCB) are released as retrograde messengers by many neurons, including hypothalamic magnocellular neurons and cannabinoid receptors are localized within these neurons, as well as in the anterior and posterior pituitary lobes, suggesting an eCB role in the production and release of OXT and VP. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection is a model used as immune challenge. LPS causes a neuroendocrine response that is mediated by cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha being one of them. We focused on NO and endocannabinoid system participation on OXT and VP production and secretion during basal and stress conditions and found that eCB affect basal OXT and VP secretion by acting differently at each level of the hypothalamo-neurohypophyseal system. After LPS, there is an increase in eCB synthesis that enhances OXT secretion.

 

The emerging role of the endocannabinoid system in endocrine regulation and energy balance 

From the abstract:

During the last few years, the endocannabinoid system has emerged as a highly relevant topic in the scientific community. Many different regulatory actions have been attributed to endocannabinoids, and their involvement in several pathophysiological conditions is under intense scrutiny. Cannabinoid receptors, named CB1 receptor and CB2 receptor, first discovered as the molecular targets of the psychotropic component of the plant Cannabis sativa, participate in the physiological modulation of many central and peripheral functions. CB2 receptor is mainly expressed in immune cells, whereas CB1 receptor is the most abundant G protein-coupled receptor expressed in the brain. CB1 receptor is expressed in the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, and its activation is known to modulate all the endocrine hypothalamic-peripheral endocrine axes. An increasing amount of data highlights the role of the system in the stress response by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and in the control of reproduction by modifying gonadotropin release, fertility, and sexual behavior. The ability of the endocannabinoid system to control appetite, food intake, and energy balance has recently received great attention, particularly in the light of the different modes of action underlying these functions. The endocannabinoid system modulates rewarding properties of food by acting at specific mesolimbic areas in the brain. In the hypothalamus, CB1 receptor and endocannabinoids are integrated components of the networks controlling appetite and food intake. Interestingly, the endocannabinoid system was recently shown to control metabolic functions by acting on peripheral tissues, such as adipocytes, hepatocytes, the gastrointestinal tract, and, possibly, skeletal muscle. The relevance of the system is further strenghtened by the notion that drugs interfering with the activity of the endocannabinoid system are considered as promising candidates for the treatment of various diseases, including obesity.

 

Endocannabinoids in endocrine and related tumours  

From the abstract:

The ‘endocannabinoid system’, comprising the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, their endogenous ligands, endocannabinoids and the enzymes that regulate their biosynthesis and degradation, has drawn a great deal of scientist attention during the last two decades. The endocannabinoid system is involved in a broad range of functions and in a growing number of physiopathological conditions. Indeed, recent evidence indicates that endocannabinoids influence the intracellular events controlling the proliferation of numerous types of endocrine and related cancer cells, thereby leading to both in vitro and in vivo antitumour effects. In particular, they are able to inhibit cell growth, invasion and metastasis of thyroid, breast and prostate tumours. The chief events of endocannabinoids in cancer cell proliferation are reported highlighting the correspondent signalling involved in tumour processes: regulation of adenylyl cyclase, cyclic AMP-protein kinase-A pathway and MEK-extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling cascade.

 

Role of the endocannabinoid system in food intake, energy homeostasis and regulation of the endocrine pancreas  

From the abstract:

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a signalling cascade consisting of CB1 and CB2 receptors, and enzymes for the synthesis and degradation of endogenous ligands for these receptors. Central CB1 receptors have been most widely studied since they play key roles in energy homeostasis and rimonabant, a CB1 receptor antagonist, was used clinically to treat obesity. Less is known about CB2 receptors, but their abundant expression by lymphocytes and macrophages has led to suggestions of their importance in immune and inflammatory reactions. More recently, it has become apparent that both CB1 and CB2 receptors are more widely expressed than originally thought, and the capacity of endocannabinoids to regulate energy balance also occurs through their interactions with cannabinoid receptors on a variety of peripheral tissues. In general, pathological overactivation of the ECS contributes to weight gain, reduced sensitivity to insulin and glucose intolerance, and blockade of CB1 receptors reduces body weight through increased secretion of anorectic signals and improved insulin sensitivity. However, the notion that the ECS per se is detrimental to energy homeostasis is an oversimplification, since activation of cannabinoid receptors expressed by islet cells can stimulate insulin secretion, which is obviously beneficial under conditions of impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes. We propose that under normal physiological conditions cannabinoid signalling in the endocrine pancreas is a bona fide mechanism of regulating insulin secretion to maintain blood glucose levels, but that energy balance becomes dysregulated with excessive food intake, leading to adipogenesis and fat accumulation through enhanced cannabinoid synthesis.

 

The role of the endocannabinoid system in the neuroendocrine regulation of energy balance  

From the abstract:

Animal and human studies carried out so far have established a role for the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the regulation of energy balance. Here we critically discuss the role of the endocannabinoid signalling in brain structures, such as the hypothalamus and reward-related areas, and its interaction with neurotransmitter and neuropeptide systems involved in the regulation of food intake and body weight. The ECS has been found to interact with peripheral signals, like leptin, insulin, ghrelin and satiety hormones and the resulting effects on both central and peripheral mechanisms affecting energy balance and adiposity will be described. Furthermore, ECS dysregulation has been associated with the development of dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance and obesity; phenomena that are often accompanied by a plethora of neuroendocrine alterations which might play a causal role in determining ECS dysregulation. Despite the withdrawal of the first generation of cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) antagonists from the pharmaceutical market due to the occurrence of psychiatric adverse events, new evidence suggests that peripherally restricted CB1 antagonists might be efficacious for the treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders. Thus, a perspective on new promising strategies to selectively target the ECS in the context of energy balance regulation is given.

 

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