Anandamide inhibits FcεRI-dependent degranulation and cytokine synthesis in mast cells through CB2 and GPR55 receptor activation. Possible involvement of CB2-GPR55 heteromers

Int Immunopharmacol. 2018 Nov;64:298-307. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2018.09.006. Epub 2018 Sep 19.


Activation of high affinity receptor for IgE (FcεRI) by IgE/antigen complexes in mast cells (MCs) leads to the release of preformed pro-inflammatory mediators stored in granules by a Ca2+-dependent process known as anaphylactic degranulation. Degranulation inhibition has been proposed as a strategy to control allergies and chronic inflammation conditions. Cannabinoids are important inhibitors of inflammatory reactions but their effects on IgE/Ag-mediated MCs responses are not well described. In this study, we analyzed the effect of the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA), the selective CB2 receptor agonist HU308, and the GPR55 receptor agonist lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) on FcεRI-induced activation in murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). Our results show that AEA, HU380 and LPI inhibited FcεRI-induced degranulation in a concentration-dependent manner. This effect was mediated by CB2 and GPR55 receptor activation through a mechanism insensitive to pertussis toxin. Degranulation inhibition was prevented by CB2 and GPR55 antagonism, but not by CB1 receptor blockage. AEA also inhibited calcium-dependent cytokine mRNA synthesis induced by FcεRI crosslinking, without affecting early phosphorylation events. In addition, AEA, HU308 and LPI inhibited intracellular Ca2+ rise in response to IgE/Ag. CB2 and GPR55 receptor antagonism could not prevent the inhibition produced by AEA and HU308, but partially blocked the one caused by LPI. These results indicate that AEA inhibits IgE/Ag-induced degranulation through a mechanism that includes the participation of CB2 and GPR55 receptors acting in close crosstalk, and show that CB2-GPR55 heteromers are important negative regulators of FcεRI-induced responses in MCs.

Keywords: Anandamide (AEA); Anaphylactic degranulation; Calcium rise; Endocannabinoids; FcεRI; GPCR heterodimers; GPR55 receptors; Mast cell.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Degranulation / drug effects*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Endocannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Mast Cells / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pertussis Toxin / pharmacology
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / chemistry
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / physiology*
  • Receptors, IgE / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, IgE / physiology


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cytokines
  • Endocannabinoids
  • GPR55 protein, mouse
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, IgE
  • Pertussis Toxin
  • anandamide