Alcohol is a psychoactive substance highly used worldwide, whose harmful use might cause a broad range of mental and behavioural disorders. Underlying brain impact, the neuroinflammatory response induced by alcohol is recognised as a key contributing factor in the progression of other neuropathological processes, such as neurodegeneration. These sequels are determined by multiple factors, including age of exposure. Strikingly, it seems that the endocannabinoid system modulation could regulate the alcohol-induced neuroinflammation. Although direct CB1 activation can worsen alcohol consequences, targeting other components of the expanded endocannabinoid system may counterbalance the pro-inflammatory response. Indeed, specific modulations of the expanded endocannabinoid system have been proved to exert anti-inflammatory effects, primarily through the CB2 and PPARγ signalling. Among them, some endo- and exogeneous cannabinoids can block certain pro-inflammatory mediators, such as NF-κB, thereby neutralizing the neuroinflammatory intracellular cascades. Furthermore, a number of cannabinoids are able to activate complementary anti-inflammatory pathways, which are necessary for the transition from chronically overactivated microglia to a regenerative microglial phenotype. Thus, cannabinoid modulation provides cooperative anti-inflammatory mechanisms that may be advantageous to resolve a pathological neuroinflammation in an alcohol-dependent context.
Keywords: Alcohol; Cannabinoids; Neuroinflammation.
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