Human brain endothelium: Coexpression and function of vanilloid and endocannabinoid receptors

Susanne Andrea Golech, Richard M. McCarron, Ye Chen, Joliet Bembry, Frederick Lenz, Raphael Mechoulam, Esther Shohami, Maria Spatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


The arachidonic acid derivative, 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG), was initially isolated from gut and brain; it is also produced and released from blood and vascular cells. Many of the 2-AG-induced cellular responses (i.e., neuromodulation, cytoprotection and vasodilation) are mediated by cannabinoid receptors CB 1 and CB 2. The findings presented here demonstrate the expression of CB 1, CB 2 and TRPV1 receptors on cerebromicrovascular endothelial cells (HBEC). The expression of TRPV1, CB 1 and CB 2 receptor mRNA and proteins were demonstrated by RT-PCR and polyclonal antibodies, respectively. The endocannabinoid 2-AG, and other related compounds [anandamide (ANA), methanandamide (m-ANA), N-(4-hydroxyphenyl-arachidonyl-ethanolamide) (AM404) and capsaicin] dose-dependently stimulated Ca 2+ influx in HBEC. The selective TRPV1 receptor antagonist (capsazepine), CB 1 receptor antagonist (SR141716A) and CB 2 receptor antagonist (SR144528) inhibited these responses. The effects of capsaicin, a specific agonist for TRPV1 receptors, were inhibited by capsazepine, but only weakly by CB 1 or CB 2 receptor antagonists. 2-AG also induced phosphorylation of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP); this response was mediated by VR1 receptors. These studies clearly indicate that 2-AG and other related compounds may function as agonists on VR1 receptors, as well as CB 1 and CB 2 receptors, and implicated these factors in various HBEC functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 6 2004


  • Brain endothelium
  • Ca influx
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors
  • VASP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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