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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 1;105(26):9099-104. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803601105. Epub 2008 Jun 23.

Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland. juerg.gertsch@pharma.ethz.ch

Abstract

The psychoactive cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. and the arachidonic acid-derived endocannabinoids are nonselective natural ligands for cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB(1)) and CB(2) receptors. Although the CB(1) receptor is responsible for the psychomodulatory effects, activation of the CB(2) receptor is a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of inflammation, pain, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis. Here, we report that the widespread plant volatile (E)-beta-caryophyllene [(E)-BCP] selectively binds to the CB(2) receptor (K(i) = 155 +/- 4 nM) and that it is a functional CB(2) agonist. Intriguingly, (E)-BCP is a common constituent of the essential oils of numerous spice and food plants and a major component in Cannabis. Molecular docking simulations have identified a putative binding site of (E)-BCP in the CB(2) receptor, showing ligand pi-pi stacking interactions with residues F117 and W258. Upon binding to the CB(2) receptor, (E)-BCP inhibits adenylate cylcase, leads to intracellular calcium transients and weakly activates the mitogen-activated kinases Erk1/2 and p38 in primary human monocytes. (E)-BCP (500 nM) inhibits lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced proinflammatory cytokine expression in peripheral blood and attenuates LPS-stimulated Erk1/2 and JNK1/2 phosphorylation in monocytes. Furthermore, peroral (E)-BCP at 5 mg/kg strongly reduces the carrageenan-induced inflammatory response in wild-type mice but not in mice lacking CB(2) receptors, providing evidence that this natural product exerts cannabimimetic effects in vivo. These results identify (E)-BCP as a functional nonpsychoactive CB(2) receptor ligand in foodstuff and as a macrocyclic antiinflammatory cannabinoid in Cannabis.

PMID:
18574142
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2449371
Free PMC Article

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