Cannabinoid signaling in glioma cells.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology, July 2012
Aleksandra Ellert-Miklaszewska, Iwona Ciechomska, Bozena Kaminska
Cannabinoids are a group of structurally heterogeneous but pharmacologically related compounds, including plant-derived cannabinoids, synthetic substances and endogenous cannabinoids, such as anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Cannabinoids elicit a wide range of central and peripheral effects mostly mediated through cannabinoid receptors. There are two types of specific G(i/o)-protein-coupled receptors cloned so far, called CB1 and CB2, although an existence of additional cannabinoid-binding receptors has been suggested. CB1 and CB2 differ in their predicted amino acid sequence, tissue distribution, physiological role and signaling mechanisms. Significant alterations of a balance in the cannabinoid system between the levels of endogenous ligands and their receptors occur during malignant transformation in various types of cancer, including gliomas. Cannabinoids exert anti-proliferative action in tumor cells. Induction of cell death by cannabinoid treatment relies on the generation of a pro-apoptotic sphingolipid ceramide and disruption of signaling pathways crucial for regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation or apoptosis. Increased ceramide levels lead also to ER-stress and autophagy in drug-treated glioblastoma cells.
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