Anandamide suppresses nitric oxide and TNF-alpha responses to Theiler's virus or endotoxin in astrocytes

Neuroreport. 1997 May 27;8(8):1929-33. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199705260-00027.


Astrocytes are an important cell population in the CNS, involved in cytokine homeostasis and participating in a variety of important physiological and pathological processes. In the present study we showed that primary cultures of neonatal mouse cortical astrocytes stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (Balb/c mice strain, LPS: 1 microgram/ml, 18 h) or Theiler's virus, TMEV (SJL/J mice strain, TMEV: 10(5) PFU/well, 24 h) released an increased amount of nitrites (NO2-) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) into the culture medium. Exogenous cannabinoids are known to modulate the function of immune cells. Anandamide, an endogenous ligand for the cannabinoid receptor, blocked the release of NO2- and TNF-alpha induced by LPS in a dose-dependent manner. In TMEV-stimulated astrocytes anandamide also suppressed, in a dose-related manner, the stimulatory effects of TMEV on both NO2- and TNF-alpha. It is suggested that anandamide exerts an immunoregulatory role in the CNS. These results could have important implications in the modulation of immunological and inflammatory processes by cannabinoid agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Depression, Chemical
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Endotoxins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Endotoxins / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Picornaviridae Infections / metabolism*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Endotoxins
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nitric Oxide
  • endotoxin, Escherichia coli
  • anandamide