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J Immunol. 2004 Feb 15;172(4):2341-51.

Immunosuppressive activity of endovanilloids: N-arachidonoyl-dopamine inhibits activation of the NF-kappa B, NFAT, and activator protein 1 signaling pathways.

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  • 1Departamento de Biología Celular, Fisiología e Inmunología, Universidad de Córdoba, Facultad de Medicina, Cordoba, Spain.


Endogenous N-acyl dopamines such as N-arachidonoyldopamine (NADA) and N-oleoyldopamine have been recently identified as a new class of brain neurotransmitters sharing endocannabinoid and endovanilloid biological activities. As endocannabinoids show immunomodulatory activity, and T cells play a key role in the onset of several diseases that affect the CNS, we have evaluated the immunosuppressive activity of NADA and N-oleoyldopamine in human T cells, discovering that both compounds are potent inhibitors of early and late events in TCR-mediated T cell activation. Moreover, we found that NADA specifically inhibited both IL-2 and TNF-alpha gene transcription in stimulated Jurkat T cells. To further characterize the inhibitory mechanisms of NADA at the transcriptional level, we examined the DNA binding and transcriptional activities of NF-kappaB, NF-AT, and AP-1 transcription factors in Jurkat cells. We found that NADA inhibited NF-kappaB-dependent transcriptional activity without affecting either degradation of the cytoplasmic NF-kappaB inhibitory protein, IkappaBalpha, or DNA binding activity. However, phosphorylation of the p65/RelA subunit was clearly inhibited by NADA in stimulated cells. In addition, NADA inhibited both binding to DNA and the transcriptional activity of NF-AT and AP-1, as expected from the inhibition of NF-AT1 dephosphorylation and c-Jun N-terminal kinase activation in stimulated T cells. Finally, overexpression of a constitutively active form of calcineurin demonstrated that this phosphatase may represent one of the main targets of NADA. These findings provide new mechanistic insights into the anti-inflammatory activities of NADA and highlight their potential to design novel therapeutic strategies to manage inflammatory diseases.

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