Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease and currently represents a clear unmet medical need. Therefore, novel preventive and therapeutic strategies are needed. Cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors, one of the components of the endocannabinoid system, can regulate neuroinflammation in PD. Here, we review the current preclinical and clinical studies investigating the CB2 receptors in PD with the aim to clarify if these receptors could have a role in PD. Preclinical data show that CB2 receptors could have a neuroprotective action in PD and that the therapeutic targeting of CB2 receptors could be promising. Indeed, it has been shown that different CB2 receptor-selective agonists exert protective effects in different PD models. Moreover, the alterations in the expression of CB2 receptors observed in brain tissues from PD animal models and PD patients suggest the potential value of CB2 receptors as possible novel biomarkers for PD. However, to date, there is no direct evidence of the role of CB2 receptors in PD. Further studies are strongly needed in order to fully clarify the role of CB2 receptors in PD and thus pave the way to novel possible diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities for PD.
Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; biomarkers; cannabinoid type 2 receptors; therapeutic targets.