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Pharmacol Res. 2009 Aug;60(2):99-106.

Endocannabinoids and cardiac contractile function: pathophysiological implications.

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Phenotyping Core, Laboratory of Physiological Studies, NIAAA, National Institutes of Health, 5625 Fishers Lane, MSC-9413, Bethesda, MD 20892-9413, USA.


Endocannabinoids are part of a bioactive lipid signaling system, not only in the central nervous system but also in various peripheral organs. Accumulating evidence implicates dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the pathogenesis of various cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, hemorrhagic or septic shock, heart failure and cardiovascular complications of liver cirrhosis. Even though the benefit of chronic cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor blockade with the currently available compounds may not outweigh the risks in chronic conditions such as obesity, modulation of the ECS may hold great therapeutic promise in various cardiovascular conditions/disorders. In this review we will discuss recent advances in understanding the role of CB1 receptors and endocannabinoids in the regulation of cardiac function in cirrhotic cardiomyopathy and in doxorubicin-induced heart failure.

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