Arachidonylethanolamide induces apoptosis of human glioma cells through vanilloid receptor-1.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2004 Sep;63(9):956-63. PMID: 15453094
Laboratory of Tumor Immunology, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.
The anti-tumor properties of cannabinoids have recently been evidenced, mainly with delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, the clinical application of this drug is limited by possible undesirable side effects due to a broad expression of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). An attractive field of research therefore is to identify molecules with more selective tumor targeting. This is particularly important for malignant gliomas, considering their poor prognosis and their location in the brain. Here we investigated whether the most potent endogenous cannabinoid, arachidonylethanolamide (AEA), could be a candidate. We observed that AEA induced apoptosis in long-term and recently established glioma cell lines via aberrantly expressed vanilloid receptor-1 (VR1). In contrast with their role in THC-mediated death, both CB1 and CB2 partially protected glioma against AEA-induced apoptosis. These data show that the selective targeting of VR1 by AEA or more stable analogues is an attractive research area for the treatment of glioma.