Recent studies provide evidence that premature maternal decidual senescence resulting from heightened mTORC1 signaling is a cause of preterm birth (PTB). We show here that mice devoid of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) with elevated levels ofN-arachidonyl ethanolamide (anandamide), a major endocannabinoid lipid mediator, were more susceptible to PTB upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge. Anandamide is degraded by FAAH and primarily works by activating two G-protein-coupled receptors CB1 and CB2, encoded by Cnr1 and Cnr2, respectively. We found thatFaah(-/-)decidual cells progressively underwent premature senescence as marked by increased senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-Gal) staining and γH2AX-positive decidual cells. Interestingly, increased endocannabinoid signaling activated MAPK p38, but not p42/44 or mTORC1 signaling, inFaah(-/-)deciduae, and inhibition of p38 halted premature decidual senescence. We further showed that treatment of a long-acting anandamide in wild-type mice at midgestation triggered premature decidual senescence utilizing CB1, since administration of a CB1 antagonist greatly reduced the rate of PTB inFaah(-/-)females exposed to LPS. These results provide evidence that endocannabinoid signaling is critical in regulating decidual senescence and parturition timing. This study identifies a previously unidentified pathway in decidual senescence, which is independent of mTORC1 signaling.
Keywords: anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine) (AEA); cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1); fatty acid metabolism; pregnancy; senescence.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.