Anandamide mediates hyperdynamic circulation in cirrhotic rats via CB(1) and VR(1) receptors

Br J Pharmacol. 2006 Dec;149(7):898-908. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0706928. Epub 2006 Oct 16.


Background and purpose: Hyperdynamic circulation and mesenteric hyperaemia are found in cirrhosis. To delineate the role of endocannabinoids in these changes, we examined the cardiovascular effects of anandamide, AM251 (CB(1) antagonist), AM630 (CB(2) antagonist) and capsazepine (VR1 antagonist), in a rat model of cirrhosis.

Experimental approach: Cirrhosis was induced by bile duct ligation. Controls underwent sham operation. Four weeks later, diameters of mesenteric arteriole and venule (intravital microscopy), arterial pressure, cardiac output, systemic vascular resistance and superior mesenteric artery (SMA) flow were measured after anandamide, AM251 (with or without anandamide), AM630 and capsazepine administration. CB(1), CB(2) and VR1 receptor expression in SMA was assessed by western blot and RT-PCR.

Key results: Anandamide increased mesenteric vessel diameter and flow, and cardiac output in cirrhotic rats, but did not affect controls. Anandamide induced a triphasic arterial pressure response in controls, but this pattern differed markedly in cirrhotic rats. Pre-administration of AM251 blocked the effects of anandamide. AM251 (without anandamide) increased arterial pressure and systemic vascular resistance, constricted mesenteric arterioles, decreased SMA flow and changed cardiac output in a time-dependent fashion in cirrhotic rats. Capsazepine decreased cardiac output and mesenteric arteriolar diameter and flow, and increased systemic vascular resistance in cirrhotic rats, but lacked effect in controls. Expression of CB(1) and VR1 receptor proteins were increased in cirrhotic rats. AM630 did not affect any cardiovascular parameter in either group.

Conclusions and implications: These data suggest that endocannabinoids contribute to hyperdynamic circulation and mesenteric hyperaemia in cirrhosis, via CB(1)- and VR1-mediated mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Bile Ducts / surgery
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Capsaicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Cardiac Output / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Hyperemia / etiology
  • Hyperemia / metabolism
  • Hyperemia / physiopathology*
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Liver Circulation / drug effects
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / chemistry
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / drug effects
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / analysis
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / drug effects*
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / drug effects
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Splanchnic Circulation / drug effects*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / analysis
  • TRPV Cation Channels / drug effects*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects
  • Vasodilation / drug effects
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Indoles
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Pyrazoles
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 receptor
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • AM 251
  • capsazepine
  • Capsaicin
  • iodopravadoline
  • anandamide