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J Histochem Cytochem. 2010 Dec;58(12):1129-34. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2010.957126. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Cannabinoid CB₁ receptor is downregulated in clear cell renal cell carcinoma.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country, Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain.


Several studies in cell cultures and in animal models have demonstrated that cannabinoids have important antitumoral properties. Because many of these effects are mediated through cannabinoid (CB) receptors CB₁ and CB₂, the study of their expression in human neoplasms has become of great interest in recent years. Fresh and formalin-fixed tissue samples of 20 consecutive clear cell renal cell carcinomas (CCRCCs) were collected prospectively and analyzed for the expression of both CB receptors by using RT-PCR, Western blot (WB), and immunohistochemical techniques. RT-PCR assays demonstrated the expression of mRNA encoding the CB₁ in tumor tissue and in adjacent non-neoplastic kidney. Conversely, WB and IHC revealed a marked downregulation of CB₁ protein in tumor tissue; CB₂ was not expressed. The obtained data suggest a possible implication of the endocannabinoid system in renal carcinogenesis. A posttranscriptional downregulation of CB₁ and the absence of expression of CB₂ characterize CCRCC.

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