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Gasperi V.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Dainese E.,University of Teramo | Dainese E.,European Center For Brain Research Cerc Irccs cia Foundation | Oddi S.,University of Teramo | And 4 more authors.
Current Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2013

A number of integral membrane G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) share common structural features (including palmytoilated aminoacid residues and consensus sequences specific for interaction with cholesterol) that allow them to interact with lipid rafts, membrane cholesterol-rich microdomains able to regulate GPCR signalling and functions. Among GPCRs, type-1 and type-2 cannabinoid receptors, the molecular targets of endocannabinoids (eCBs), control many physiological and pathological processes through the activation of several signal transduction pathways. Recently, the orphan GPR55 receptor has been proved to be activated by many eCBs, thus leading to the hypothesis that it might be the 'type-3' cannabinoid receptor. While the biological activity of eCBs and the influence of membrane lipids on their functions are rather well established, information regarding GPR55 is still scarce and often controversial. Based on this background, here we shall review current data about GPR55 pharmacology and signalling, highlighting its involvement in several pathophysiological conditions. We shall also outline the structural features that allow GPR55 to interact with cholesterol and to associate with lipid rafts; how the latter lipid microdomains impact the biological activity of GPR55 is also addressed, as well as their potential for the discovery of new therapeutics useful for the treatment of those human diseases that might be associated with alterations of GPR55 activity. © 2013 Bentham Science Publishers.

Gasperi V.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Evangelista D.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Oddi S.,University of Teramo | Oddi S.,European Center For Brain Research Cerc Irccs cia Foundation | And 7 more authors.
Life Sciences | Year: 2015

Aims Pro-inflammatory cytokines, growth and angiogenic factors released by leukocytes are involved in carcinogenesis and cancer progression, but they are also crucial for fighting tumour growth and spreading. We have previously demonstrated that endocannabinoids modulate cell-to-cell crosstalk during inflammation. Here, we investigated the inflammatory and tumourigenic properties of endocannabinoids in a human urinary bladder carcinoma cell line. Main methods Endocannabinoid-treated ECV304 cells were checked for tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α secretion (by ELISA assay) and surface exposure of selectins (by in situ ELISA and FACS analysis). ECV304/Jurkat T cell interaction was assessed by adhesion and live imaging experiments. Proliferation rate, cell death and cell cycle were determined by FACS analysis. Key findings By binding to type-1 (CB1) and type-2 (CB2) cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) exacerbates the pro-inflammatory status surrounding bladder carcinoma ECV304 cells, by: (i) enhancing TNF-α release, (ii) increasing surface exposure of P- and E-selectins, and (iii) allowing Jurkat T lymphocytes to adhere to treated cancer cells. We also found that the CB1 inverse agonist AM281, unlike 2-AG, decreases cancer proliferation by delaying cell cycle progression. Significance Our data suggest that 2-AG modulates the inflammatory milieu of cancer cells in vitro, while AM281 plays a more specific role in proliferation. Collectively, these findings suggest that CB receptors may play distinct roles in cancer biology, depending on the specific ligand employed. Conclusions The in vivo assessment of the role of CB receptors in inflammation and cancer might be instrumental in broadening the understanding about bladder cancer biology. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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