Modulation of cellular redox homeostasis by the endocannabinoid system

Open Biol. 2016 Apr;6(4):150276. doi: 10.1098/rsob.150276. Epub 2016 Apr 27.


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) constitute two key cellular signalling systems that participate in the modulation of diverse cellular functions. Importantly, growing evidence suggests that cross-talk between these two prominent signalling systems acts to modulate functionality of the ECS as well as redox homeostasis in different cell types. Herein, we review and discuss evidence pertaining to ECS-induced regulation of ROS generating and scavenging mechanisms, as well as highlighting emerging work that supports redox modulation of ECS function. Functionally, the studies outlined reveal that interactions between the ECS and ROS signalling systems can be both stimulatory and inhibitory in nature, depending on cell stimulus, the source of ROS species and cell context. Importantly, such cross-talk may act to maintain cell function, whereas abnormalities in either system may propagate and undermine the stability of both systems, thereby contributing to various pathologies associated with their dysregulation.

Keywords: antioxidant; cannabinoid receptor; endocannabinoid system; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; redox homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Endocannabinoids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species