The endocannabinoid system is an important regulatory system of multiple functions of the body in all vertebrates. There are 2 specific receptors, CB1 and CB2, through which the cannabinoids exert their effect. CB1-receptors mainly express themselves in myenteric plexuses and submucosal epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract, suggesting their implication in the inhibition of the peristalsis and gastrointestinal contraction. CB2-receptors are expressed in the tissue and immune cells, such as T and B-lymphocytes, monocytes and polymorphonuclear neutrophils, exerting an immunomodulator effect. The role of the endocannabinoid system is not completely known, but there is enough evidence that confirms an important role in the decrease of inflammation through the reduction of the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, it may exert a protective role in many of the points where the homeostasis breaks in inflammatory bowel disease. Research about the mechanisms and effects of the endocannabinoid system in the gastrointestinal tract will allow advancing in the therapy of this illness. © 2008 Elsevier España S.L. All rights reserved.
|Publication status||Published - 18 Oct 2008|
- Bowel inflammation
- Endocannabinoid receptors
- Endocannabinoid system
- Ulcerative colitis