Background and aims: In an attempt to further investigate the role of cannabinoid (CB) system in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases, we employed two recently developed ligands, AM841 (a covalently acting CB agonist) and CB13 (a peripherally-restricted CB agonist) to establish whether central and peripheral CB sites are involved in the anti-inflammatory action in the intestine.
Methods and results: AM841 (0.01, 0.1 and 1 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly decreased inflammation scores in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)- and 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-treated mice when administered before induction of colitis or as a treatment of existing intestinal inflammation. The effect was absent in CB1, CB2 and CB(1/2)-deficient mice. A peripherally-restricted agonist CB13 did not alleviate colitis when given i.p. (0.1 mg/kg), but significantly decreased inflammation score after central administration (0.1 µg/animal).
Conclusions: This is the first evidence that central and peripheral CB receptors are responsible for the protective and therapeutic action of cannabinoids in mouse models of colitis. Our observations provide new insight to CB pharmacology and validate the use of novel ligands AM841 and CB13 as potent tools in CB-related research.