Evidence for the presence of CB2-like cannabinoid receptors on peripheral nerve terminals

Eur J Pharmacol. 1997 Nov 19;339(1):53-61. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(97)01336-8.


We have investigated whether there are cannabinoid CB2 receptors that can mediate cannabinoid-induced inhibition of electrically evoked contractions in the mouse vas deferens or guinea-pig myenteric plexus-longitudinal muscle preparation. Our results showed that mouse vas deferens and guinea-pig whole gut contain cannabinoid CB1 and CB2-like mRNA whereas the myenteric plexus preparation seemed to contain only cannabinoid CB1 mRNA. JWH-015 (1-propyl-2-methyl-3-( -naphthoyl)indole) and JWH-051 (1-deoxy-11-hydroxy-delta8-tetrahydrocannabinol-dimethylheptyl+ ++), which have higher affinities for CB2 than CB1 cannabinoid binding sites, inhibited electrically evoked contractions of both tissues in a concentration related manner. This inhibition was attenuated by 31.62 nM of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor selective antagonist SR141716A [N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-me thyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide hydrochloride] only in the myenteric plexus preparation. Vasa deferentia from delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol-pretreated mice (20 mg/kg i.p. once daily for two days) showed reduced sensitivity to JWH-015 and JWH-051. The results suggest that these compounds exert their inhibitory effects through cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the myenteric plexus preparation, but mainly through CB2-like cannabinoid receptors in the vas deferens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Myenteric Plexus / chemistry*
  • Nerve Endings / chemistry*
  • Peripheral Nerves / chemistry*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / analysis*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vas Deferens / drug effects


  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug