Pharmacological activation of cannabinoid 2 receptor attenuates inflammation, fibrogenesis, and promotes re-epithelialization during skin wound healing

Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Sep 5;786:128-136. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2016.06.006. Epub 2016 Jun 3.


Previous studies showed that cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor is expressed in multiple effector cells during skin wound healing. Meanwhile, its functional involvement in inflammation, fibrosis, and cell proliferation in other organs and skin diseases implied CB2 receptor might also regulate skin wound healing. To verify this hypothesis, mice excisional wounds were created and treated with highly selective CB2 receptor agonist GP1a (1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-6-methyl- N-piperidin-1-yl-4H-indeno[1,2-c]pyrazole-3-carboxamide) and antagonist AM630 ([6-iodo-2- methyl-1-(2-morpholin-4-ylethyl)indol-3-yl]-(4-methoxyphenyl)methanone) respectively. The inflammatory infiltration, cytokine expression, fibrogenesis, and wound re-epithelialization were analyzed. After CB2 receptor activation, neutrophil and macrophage infiltrations were reduced, and expressions of monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1, Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A were decreased. Keratinocyte proliferation and migration were enhanced. Wound re-epithelialization was accelerated. Fibroblast accumulation and fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transformation were attenuated, and expression of pro-collagen I was decreased. Furthermore, HaCaT cells in vitro were treated with GP1a or AM630, which revealed that CB2 receptor activation promoted keratinocyte migration by inducing the epithelial to mesenchymal transition. These results, taken together, indicate that activating CB2 receptor could ameliorate wound healing by reducing inflammation, accelerating re-epithelialization, and attenuating scar formation. Thus, CB2 receptor agonist might be a novel perspective for skin wound therapy.

Keywords: AM630 (PubChem CID: 4302963); Cannabinoid 2 receptor; Fibrogenesis; GP1a (PubChem CID: 10252734); Inflammation; Re-epithelialization; Skin wound healing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Fibrosis
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Indenes / pharmacology*
  • Indenes / therapeutic use
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Re-Epithelialization / drug effects*
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / agonists
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / metabolism*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin / physiopathology


  • Indenes
  • Indoles
  • N-(piperidin-1-yl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,4-dihydro-6-methylindeno(1,2-c)pyrazole-3-carboxamide
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2
  • Collagen
  • iodopravadoline