In vivo and in vitro treatment with the synthetic cannabinoid CP55, 940 decreases the in vitro migration of macrophages in the rat: involvement of both CB1 and CB2 receptors

J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Sep 22;109(2):155-63. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5728(00)00307-6.


Cannabinoids have been shown to affect immune responses, acting on different populations of immune cells. In the present paper we analyze the ability of in vivo and in vitro treatment with the potent synthetic cannabinoid CP55,940 to interfere with an important function of rat peritoneal macrophages, i.e. spontaneous migration and formyl-metionyl-leucine-phenylalanine (fMLP)-induced chemotaxis, that were assessed by the use of a Boyden-modified microchemotaxis chamber. When added in vitro, CP55,940 induced a significant and dose-dependent inhibition of both spontaneous migration and fMLP-induced chemotaxis. Both the Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and the Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2) antagonists were able to block the CP55,940-induced inhibition of spontaneous migration, although the CB2 antagonist was more potent and only the CB2 antagonist was able to reverse the effect of CP55,940 on fMLP-induced chemotaxis. Similarly, in the in vivo experiments, 1 h after the acute subcutaneous administration of 0.4 mg/kg of CP55,940, both spontaneous motility and chemotaxis were reduced. The pretreatment with the CB2 antagonist, but not with the CB1 antagonist, was able to prevent this effect. Our data confirm that cannabinoids can affect some macrophage functions, mainly throughout CB2 receptors, and suggest that the development of specific CB2 ligands may lead to an interesting new class of anti-inflammatory drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camphanes / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoids / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclohexanols / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / cytology*
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / drug effects
  • Male
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2*
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / immunology*
  • Rimonabant


  • Camphanes
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cnr2 protein, rat
  • Cyclohexanols
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug
  • SR 144528
  • 3-(2-hydroxy-4-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)phenyl)-4-(3-hydroxypropyl)cyclohexanol
  • Rimonabant