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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Mar;30(3):156-63. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Feb 21.

The enigmatic pharmacology of GPR55.

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Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK.


Preliminary data presented at conferences and in the patent literature introduced the possibility the orphan receptor GPR55 might account for some of the well-documented non-CB(1), non-CB(2) effects reported for certain cannabinoid ligands. Several peer-reviewed publications have recently emerged in which the pharmacology of the cannabinoids at GPR55 has been probed in more depth. Despite this, the classification of GPR55 as a cannabinoid receptor remains a contentious issue. The weight of evidence points to GPR55 as a receptor that is activated by certain cannabinoid ligands and by the bioactive lipid l-alpha-lysophosphatidylinsoitol. It couples to G(12) proteins, activates RhoA and mobilizes intracellular Ca(2+), possibly in an agonist- and tissue-dependant manner, thus displaying 'agonist functional selectivity'. Here, I review the recent literature in an effort to glean the key controversies and outstanding questions surrounding the interaction between cannabinoids and this orphan receptor.

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