Bone is a dynamic tissue, whose homeostasis is maintained by a fine balance between osteoclast (OC) and osteoblast (OB) activity. The endocannabinoid/endovanilloid (EC/EV) system's receptors are the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), and the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1). Their stimulation modulates bone formation and bone resorption. Bone diseases are very common worldwide. Osteoporosis is the principal cause of bone loss and it can be caused by several factors such as postmenopausal estrogen decrease, glucocorticoid (GC) treatments, iron overload, and chemotherapies. Studies have demonstrated that CB1 and TRPV1 stimulation exerts osteoclastogenic effects, whereas CB2 stimulation has an anti-osteoclastogenic role. Moreover, the EC/EV system has been demonstrated to have a role in cancer, favoring apoptosis and inhibiting cell proliferation. In particular, in bone cancer, the modulation of the EC/EV system not only reduces cell growth and enhances apoptosis but it also reduces cell invasion and bone pain in mouse models. Therefore, EC/EV receptors may be a useful pharmacological target in the prevention and treatment of bone diseases. More studies to better investigate the biochemical mechanisms underlining the EC/EV system effects in bone are needed, but the synthesis of hybrid molecules, targeting these receptors and capable of oppositely regulating bone homeostasis, seems to be a promising and encouraging prospective in bone disease management.
Keywords: CB1; CB2; TRPV1; bone; osteoblasts; osteoclasts; osteoporosis; osteosarcoma.