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Nat Med. 2006 Jun;12(6):671-6. Epub 2006 May 21.

CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonism: a new strategy for the treatment of liver fibrosis.

Author information

1
INSERM, Unité 581, Hôpital Henri Mondor Créteil, F-9400 France.

Abstract

Hepatic fibrosis, the common response associated with chronic liver diseases, ultimately leads to cirrhosis, a major public health problem worldwide. We recently showed that activation of hepatic cannabinoid CB2 receptors limits progression of experimental liver fibrosis. We also found that during the course of chronic hepatitis C, daily cannabis use is an independent predictor of fibrosis progression. Overall, these results suggest that endocannabinoids may drive both CB2-mediated antifibrogenic effects and CB2-independent profibrogenic effects. Here we investigated whether activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors (encoded by Cnr1) promotes progression of fibrosis. CB1 receptors were highly induced in human cirrhotic samples and in liver fibrogenic cells. Treatment with the CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A decreased the wound-healing response to acute liver injury and inhibited progression of fibrosis in three models of chronic liver injury. We saw similar changes in Cnr1-/- mice as compared to wild-type mice. Genetic or pharmacological inactivation of CB1 receptors decreased fibrogenesis by lowering hepatic transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 and reducing accumulation of fibrogenic cells in the liver after apoptosis and growth inhibition of hepatic myofibroblasts. In conclusion, our study shows that CB1 receptor antagonists hold promise for the treatment of liver fibrosis.

PMID:
16715087
DOI:
10.1038/nm1421
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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