The Role of Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2 in the Bone Loss Associated With Pediatric Celiac Disease

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2020 Nov;71(5):633-640. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002863.


Objectives: In this study, we investigated the role of the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) in the bone loss associated with celiac disease (CD) evaluating the effect of its pharmacological modulation on osteoclast activity. We previously demonstrated a significant association between the CB2 Q63R variant and CD, suggesting it as a possible disease biomarker. Moreover, CB2 stimulation is beneficial for reducing osteoclast activity in several bone pathologic conditions.

Methods: In vitro osteoclasts (OCs) were differentiated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of healthy donors, CD children at diagnosis and after 1 year of gluten-free diet (GFD) and characterized by real-time PCR and western blot for the expression of CB2 and specific osteoclastic markers, TRAP and Cathepsin K. TRAP assay and Bone Resorption assay were performed to evaluate osteoclast activity before and after 48 h exposure to CB2 selective drugs (JWH-133 and AM630) and Vitamin D.

Results: We found in CD patients an osteoclast hyperactivation and low levels of CB2. CB2 stimulation with JWH-133 agonist is more effective than Vitamin D in reducing osteoclast activity whereas CB2 blockade with AM630 increases osteoclast activation. The anti-osteoporotic effect of JWH-133 decreases when used in co-treatment with vitamin D. GFD reduces osteoclast activity without restore CB2 expression.

Conclusions: CB2 could be a molecular marker to predict the risk of bone alterations in CD and a pharmacological target to reduce bone mass loss in patients who need a direct intervention on bone metabolism, in addition to the GFD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Resorption* / etiology
  • Celiac Disease* / complications
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • Osteoclasts
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2*


  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2