Cannabinoid $\mathrm{CB_1}$ receptor overactivity contributes to the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a life-threatening disease without effective treatment, highlighting the need for identifying new targets and treatment modalities. The pathogenesis of IPF is complex, and engaging multiple targets simultaneously might improve therapeutic efficacy. To assess the role of the endocannabinoid/cannabinoid receptor 1 (endocannabinoid/CB$_1$R) system in IPF and its interaction with inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) as dual therapeutic targets, we analyzed lung fibrosis and the status of the endocannabinoid/CB$_1$R system and iNOS in mice with bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and in lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from patients with IPF, as well as controls. In addition, we investigated the antifibrotic efficacy in the mouse PF model of an orally bioavailable and peripherally restricted CB$_1$R/iNOS hybrid inhibitor. We report that increased activity of the endocannabinoid/CB$_1$R system parallels disease progression in the lungs of patients with idiopathic PF and in mice with bleomycin-induced PF and is associated with increased tissue levels of interferon regulatory factor-5. Furthermore, we demonstrate that simultaneous engagement of the secondary target iNOS by the hybrid CB$_1$R/iNOS inhibitor has greater antifibrotic efficacy than inhibition of CB$_1$R alone. This hybrid antagonist also arrests the progression of established fibrosis in mice, thus making it a viable candidate for future translational studies in IPF.


Publication Date:
Apr 20 2017
Date Submitted:
Aug 10 2018
ISSN:
2379-3708
Citation:
JCI Insight
2
8
Note:
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 Record created 2018-08-10, last modified 2019-04-03


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