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Open Cardiovasc Med J. 2011;5:15-21. doi: 10.2174/1874192401105010015. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Cannabinoid Receptor 2 Deficiency in Haematopoietic cells Aggravates Early Atherosclerosis in LDL Receptor Deficient Mice.

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MSD, Department of Immune Therapeutics, Oss, The Netherlands.



The cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) has been implicated to play a role in various inflammatory processes. Since atherosclerosis is currently considered a chronic inflammatory disease, we studied the effect of haematopoietic CB2 deficiency on atherosclerosis development.


To investigate the effect of CB2 deficiency in immune cells on atherogenesis in vivo, a bone marrow transplantation was performed in irradiated LDL receptor deficient mice (LDLr(-/-)), using CB2 deficient (CB2(-/-)) or wildtype (WT) donor mice. After 12 weeks on a high fat-high cholesterol diet, en face analysis showed that atherosclerosis in the aortic arch was significantly increased in CB2(-/-) transplanted animals (6.40 ± 3.21%) as compared to WT transplanted mice (3.85 ± 1.61%). Although the total lesion area in the aortic root was not significantly different between WT and CB2(-/-) transplanted mice (0.45 ± 0.13 mm(2) and 0.51 ± 0.17 mm(2), respectively), CB2(-/-) transplanted mice showed a significantly larger plaque area (0.13 ± 0.07 mm(2)) than WT transplanted mice (0.08 ± 0.05 mm(2)) in the aortic valve in which atherogenesis is in an earlier stage than in the other aortic valves.


Lack of endocannabinoid signaling via the CB2 receptor aggravates early atherosclerosis development in LDLr(-/-) mice, suggesting that CB2 specific activation may prevent the development of atherosclerosis.


Atherosclerosis; CB2; LDLr-/- mice.; cannabinoid receptor

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